Is It Time to Worry About Chris Sale?

Chris Sale is on his way to a second place Cy Young finish. He’s 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA, 0.977 WHIP and a 12.9 K/9 this season. Not too shabby huh? Yes, his first season in Boston has been excellent, and that may even be an understatement. I mean, the guy has punched out 308 batters; he’s been beyond dominating. But I can remember a time when Chris Sale was the unquestionable Cy Young front-runner on pace for one of the greatest seasons of all time. A lot of people have short memories; I do not.

It seems to be the same old song and dance for the tall lefty every season. He cruises through the first 3/4 of the campaign, only to throw it all away in the last two months and finish no higher than Cy Young 3. He does it almost every single season. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

Pre-August ERAs/Post-August ERA

2012 – 2.61/3.84

2013 – 2.69/3.72

2014 – 1.88/2.63

2015 – 3.20/3.80

2016 – 3.17/3.59

2017 – 2.37/4.09′

The numbers speak for themselves: Sale is never the same pitcher down the stretch. Just once have we seen him turn in a sub 3.59 ERA in his career after August 1. While he posts respectable stats after August 1 every year, he is obviously no ace as the games become increasingly important. Not even close. His ERA’s are always elite for the first 20 or so games, but after that, they seem to turn into those of a number 3 pitcher, which is a major issue, because the Sox need a true ace heading into playoffs.

Why is this the first you’re hearing of this? It was never an issue in Chicago. They never made playoffs, so why did it matter? Sale always turned in incredible season stats, so no one ever questioned him. That, however, is not the case this season with the Red Sox. I have a growing concern with Sale. Every year after August 1 he is a whole new pitcher. Hardly recognizable on the mound. Watching his last start against Toronto only strengthened my concerns. He was hanging his slider and getting barreled up very often. Not to mention, the Indians have had his number this season. Yikes.

Will Chris Sale reestablish himself as an ace during the playoffs? Or will he prove me right in saying he legitimately just runs out of gas at the end of every single season? I’m really hoping he proves me wrong.


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