What in the world is wrong with Chris Sale?
After his World Series game one outing, where he only managed to go four innings while allowing three runs but still struck out seven, Sale has a 6.00 ERA across six postseason starts over two years. It makes no sense.
I understand him struggling last season because he led the league in innings pitched and ran into the juggernaut that was the 2017 Houston Astros, but his struggles this season are just confusing.
Sale only threw 158 innings, and he only made five “starts” in August and September, and none of those starts lasted more than five innings.
The most concerning takeaway from Sales three starts this postseason isn’t the velocity like the media likes to pinpoint. The thing that concerns me the most is the lack of command. In each of Sales playoff starts this year, he has gone 5.1, 4.0, and 4.0 innings. The pitch count for each of those starts were 93, 86, and 91 respectively. That’s Eduardo Rodriguez levels of ineffective.
Sale has been putting the bullpen at the biggest disadvantage so far these playoffs. Not David Price, Rick Porcello, or Nate Eovaldi like everyone thought. Sale has basically been the Clayton Kershaw from three years ago (and last night). He immediately puts his team behind the eight ball in game one of critical playoff series.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that Chris Sale IS the new Clayton Kershaw. They’re both lefties, both incredible regular season starters, and then they immediately go to shit in October.
The most troubling things for Red Sox fans should be that they tried to bend the trend this year by staggering his starts down the stretch, giving him two extended DL stints, and spotting him leads so he doesn’t have to go 100% every starts. Yet, through everything, he has yet to have a true ace performance.
The Sox aren’t in trouble because, you know, everyone else has been doing a fantastic job, but Sale’s struggles are noteworthy for how persistent they are. Hopefully, the team doesn’t need him to make another start and they can wrap up the series in four games, but it’s something to keep in mind going forward.
Don’t expect eight-inning performances from the guy anymore; he’s not capable of doing it when the weather gets cold.
Prove me wrong, Chris Sale. There’s nothing I’d love more than to have you throw a complete game shutout in game 5 of the World Series to shut me up forever.
Photo by Christopher Evans/ Boston Herald