Before this season started, the Red Sox were coming off a great 2016 campaign in which they lead the league in most offensive categories, and seemed to have little to no trouble scoring runs on a nightly basis. Fast forward to this off season, the Sox sent a haul of prospects to the White Sox, for the right to get one of, if not the best, pitcher in baseball. If you asked me today, is Chris Sale worth the pricetag? I would answer a resounding yes. Through 4 games, he posts a 0.91 ERA, and has three 10 plus strikeout games (last year he did not have one until August). With those kind of numbers, one would assume that Sale would be virtually undefeated, spoiler alert, he isn’t. He is now 1-1 with two no decisions following yesterday’s outing.
Side Rant: John Farrell has to be in the discussion for worst in-game manager in the MLB, you don’t pull your ace after going 8 strong innings, 13K, 80+ strikes on ONLY 102 pitches. I don’t care how good Kimbrel has been.
Back to Sale, going into yesterday’s outing, this “potent” Red Sox offense has averaged 1.9 runs in Sale’s outings… 1.9, and that number accounts for all the runs they seemingly score after Sale gets off the mound. Here is the most befuddling number, while in the game, the Sox offer Chris Sale, 0.8 runs… for those who maybe struggle with math, that means the Sox offer Chris Sale less than 1 run while he’s on the mound, they can’t even score once…
How does this stack up against the rest of the Sox starters you ask? I’d love to tell you.
Last years CY Young winner, Rick Porcello, finished the season with a league leading 6.61 Runs per game. Everytime he took the mound the Sox mustered across almost 7 runs for him, SEVEN. The only missing person from that lineup is David Ortiz, and while he is a great one and makes the people around him better, he is not responsible for 7 runs everytime Porcello is on the mound. Virtually, the same roster can’t get Chris Sale ONE RUN! The guy literally needs ONE RUN, because right now, nobody is touching him. NOBODY.
Last year, the under-performing David Price got 5.66 runs per game while he gave up nearly 4, that’s why he was fortunate enough to have as many wins as he had, run support.
Both Price and Porcello were top 10 in Run Support last year.
So you may think that I’m basing this too much of last year’s success, and you may be right if it weren’t for this number.
This years Sox lineup, the same one they throw out there when Sale takes the mound, gets Porcello an average run support of 4.25 runs per game, which leads the Sox this year. While we all wait for the Sox lineup to live up to expectations, they somehow can get enough runs across for everybody else, unless your name is Chris Sale.
For Sale’s career, he gets about 3.9 runs while he is pitching in the game, and in games he starts, his team gets about 4.1 runs. His dominating success is in the fact his career stat-line includes a 2.97 ERA, a .223 batting average off of him, and a .279 on-base percentage off of him as well. The dude is ridiculous and that’s why he has won so many games in his career, his offense can’t get it done so he has to go out there and do it himself.
Chris Sale came onto the scene as a 21 year old rookie in 2010, but was not a full-time starter until 2012 so that is where I will start these numbers from.
2012: 17-8, 3.05 ERA, 192 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: Tied for 19th (this is the highest in his career)
2013: 11-14, 3.07 ERA, 214.1 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: 63rd
2014: 12-4, 2.17 ERA, 174 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: Tied for 40th (Chris Sale’s team averaged 4.4 runs per game, and he held opponents to two, not exactly a great offensive display, lucky he was lights out this year)
2015: 13-11, 3.41 ERA, 208.2 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: Tied for 43rd (Again a large number of his loses can be contributed to him giving up a modest 3 runs a game but his team scoring 4.3)
2016: 17-10, 3.34, 226.2 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: Tied for 29th
2017: 1-1, 0.91 ERA, 29.2 Innings Pitched
Run Support Ranking: 100th
No matter how good Chris Sale pitches, run support has never followed him, thus I am deeming Chris Sale the unluckiest pitcher in baseball, and his stuff and stats are a huge reason why W/L record is such an overrated statistic.
So somebody get Chris Sale some run support, please.