Since the All Star Break, Chris Sale has appeared in five games. In four of the five, the opposing team has been left scoreless during the time Sale has pitched. Although a hiccup in his last outing against the Indians may have ruined the ERA a bit for the man running away with the AL CY Young award, it didn’t ruin the mindset. Sale came back with another scoreless and dominant outing against the Rays on Tuesday.
Sale has been effective all year and his post All-Star Break stats are something Sox fans only dreamed of when he was acquired. Sale started his streak of scoreless outings against the Yankees in a game where the Sox got him no run support and ended up losing. Games against the Yankees will be important going forward in a tight division race and the Sox are lucky to have Sale available every fifth day to shut them down. He followed that up with two more scoreless outings that the Sox won in games against the Angles and Mariners. After a tough start against the Indians, Sale struck out 13 Rays in a game that extended a Sox winning streak to 7 games. Sale continues to eat innings and pitch well when he is on the mound. It is incredibly valuable to have a starter that gives quality innings every time he is on the mound, and gives the bullpen a night off more nights than not. In Tuesday’s game, Sale went 8 innings before handing the ball over to Craig Kimbrel. If the Sox season is to extend into October, fresh bullpen arms will be a priority.
Chris Sale is the ace of a Sox staff that hasn’t had a true ace for a long time. The pitcher that started the year as the undisputed ace of the rotation did not finish the year in the same spot during recent years. Clay Buchholz was the ace two years ago when injuries ended his season and David Price started the year as the ace last year only to give way to Rick Porcello. Although Porcello started opening day this year, there was little doubt that Sale would be the ace of this staff and he has been nothing but reliable all year. A bounce back outing proves that giving up runs in his last outing was a fluke and Sale is locked in and ready for the long run.