All over the airwaves I’m hearing concern about Chris Sale. His velocity was the lowest of his career last start. You can’t pay Frank Tanana or Jamie Moyer or Koji Uehara $30 Million a year. He’s got to be injured.
Would the Red Sox let Chris Sale pitch if he were injured? Not a chance. They shut him down the whole second half last year because of shoulder discomfort. Every single pitcher in baseball has shoulder discomfort. Cora and his merry men would not risk Sale’s health.
Here is Sale’s career broken down by month from Baseball Reference:
The first thing you notice is he usually starts out slightly slow. Yes, his record is sterling, but his ERA and strikeout ability are down.
The second thing you notice is the sweet spot for Sale’s performance in terms of pure stuff is June and July. Best ERAs, best SO/W.
The third thing you notice is he has a losing record in September and October. He still strikes guys out, but he also walks a few more, which leads to more runs and a higher ERA. By the time he reaches the playoffs, Sale’s ERA balloons to 5.76.
Cora is trying to convince Sale to change June and July to September and October and the playoffs. This is a big change for Chris Sale, so they’re figuring it out.
We’ll find out if Sale is still on board, if he is in control, today. With all the pomp and circumstance, the feel of the Fenway mound on opening day, the smell of Buffalo Chicken Totchos in air, rings, bunting, and Super Bowl trophies, it’s a tall task.
But if he is throwing in the low 90’s, even 89, it’s all according to plan. It’s that simple.