Boston Red Sox Starter Chris Sale spins another gem – 2nd Win of 2017
What words come to mind when you think of Chris Sale? Remarkable, unhittable, clutch, talented? If any of those words or more than one came to mind, I’d say you’re par for the course. Sale who everyone remembers came over to Boston switching Sox colors for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two prospects in what was considered a huge move by Dave Dombrowski. Six starts into 2017 and he has yet to disappoint. He’s made only two mistakes in six starts.
Against the Orioles, Sale went eight strong innings allowing two runs on three hits, struck out 11 batters, allowing one home run and walked just two batters. He did see his ERA jump slightly from a 1.19 to 1.38. Scary right? Sale mixed in all of his pitches to get the first five batters he faced down by way of the strike out including a rather theatrical at bat by Manny Machado who continues to find himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Sale on the other hand, could do no wrong.
With April now in the books, a new month has started and he’s still mowing guys down left and right. He’s showing zero regard for his opponents as he’s throwing whatever he wants whenever he wants. In my opinion he’s not only the best left in baseball, he’s the best pitcher in baseball. His numbers defend his case. The only reason why some and I mean only a handful might not consider him the best is because he’s 2 – 2 on the year.
When you look at the numbers they are pretty self explanatory. The guy has pitched 8 innings in three straight games, that’s better than both Clayton Kershaw and Ervin Santana who each only have one such start. Sale has five games of 10 or more K’s. Santana and Kershaw have one combined. It’s a no brainer, not to mention, Kershaw plays in the easier league, the NL gets a gimme every 9th batter. How isn’t this guy getting every CYA vote right now?
There are only two pitchers that come to mind when I think of this kind of absolute domination. One played for the Red Sox and the other a longtime Mariner and Diamondback. Pedro and Randy Johnson. Chris Sale is simply on another planet. When he’s locked in, he can get you with any pitch in his arsenal. It just reminds me of Pedro’s 1999 All Star Game performance. It didn’t matter what pitch he threw, he got you out when he wanted and how he wanted, it was the definition of domination. 18 years later, we’ve got the same situation, same team, same result.
Sale has allowed 2 homers in 45 2/3rds innings. Add in 8 runs, 7 earned on 26 hits while also walking only 8 and striking out 63. He’s 1/3rd inning away from averaging 7 2/3rds per game and is currently averaging 10.5 K’s per game. He has struck out 10 or more in his last five starts. The last Sox pitcher to do that? Pedro Martinez, and he did it several times throughout his career. Could Sale get 10 or more next start? More than likely yes. He’s rocking a 12.4 K/9 ratio on the year and he’s got an 1.38 ERA.
Just to compare numbers, Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees has a 4 – 1 record with a 4.46 ERA and he’s allowed 18 runs on 36 hits in 36 1/3rd’s innings. Sale has pitched 9 1/3rd more innings and allowed 11 less runs on 10 less hits and only managed a 2 – 2 start. This is largely in part of the slow Sox offense in 2017. They managed five runs of offense, a high so far this season. In Sale’s starts, the Sox have now put up run totals of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and now a 5 spot. Perhaps against the Twins, Sale can gets six runs of support instead of just the game to back him up.
It’ll be a nice change of pace compared to the low numbers of support he received in April. May’s a new month so I’m staying positive. Sale has now received an average of 1.77 runs of support per 9 innings in games he’s started, that’s one of the lowest I’ve ever seen. If he can string a couple more of these games with this kind of offense, you can expect Sale to pitch 8+ innings from here on out. 300 K’s is not out of the question. Sale might even beat Rick Porcello’s numbers from 2016. Truly, anything is possible when you’ve got this kind of talent pitching at the front of your rotation.
Sale’s next start will be on Sunday, May 7th against the Twins Santana who’s perfect this season with a 5 – 0 record this season.
Photo Credit – Winslow Townson USA TODAY Sports