We all know that the Boston Red Sox have not been relatively close to their 2018 form. You could blame a lot of the Red Sox mediocre season on a number of different factors. Some would say it’s the continuous aggravation of the bullpen underachieving. Others might point to the fact that guys like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez aren’t having the same years in 2019 as they did in 2018. But what a lot of people quickly forget about is Ace Chris Sale.
Sale has not been himself this year and we all can see it. Coming into today, Chris Sale is 3-9 with an alarmingly high 4.27 ERA. Sale has been very accountable this season, taking the heat for every bad start that he has had so far this season. But with all of that being said, here are a few reasons why I’m not concerned with Chris Sale.
He’s Always Been A Strikeout Pitcher
There is no sugarcoating this fact. Chris Sale has been a strikeout pitcher since the first year he started for the Chicago White Sox. While his wins might be down on the year, his strikeout production surely has not decreased in the slightest. In 19 games this season, (prior to his start today against the Toronto Blue Jays) Sale has 160 strikeouts on the season. If you do the math on that quickly, he is averaging 8.42 strikeouts per start. So it isn’t a case of his strikeout totals decreasing by any means.
You’re probably wondering what accountability has to do with Sale. Well, it has to do with Sale more than you think. Sale could very easily have been a jerk about the whole situation and come up with excuses for why he’s struggled. “The catchers aren’t calling the right pitches”, “The offense doesn’t give me run support”, “I’m hurt”, to name a few. But, that’s not the type of guy that Sale is deep down inside of him. He has flat out beaten himself up during after start press conferences. “I suck right now”, “I have to be better”, “I’m a liability right now”. Those are quotes of what he has said throughout the season. Boston loves Sale because he backs up what he says. He acknowledges his good starts and becomes his own worst critic when he fails. You can’t ask for much more than that.
His Teammates Saw Something Recently
You heard it from Eduardo Rodriguez first. Sale was going to deliver a good start today and he did. Jared Carrabis gives it away a bit with his mention of Sale striking out 12 Blue Jays hitters over five innings at the time. He was dominant as ever today.
Six innings with 12 strikeouts while giving up two walks and two hits? Yeah, give me that every time. That’s the Sale we all know and love. That is also the Sale the Red Sox need from this point forward for the rest of the season.
Sale is going to be fine. He’s as competitive and as smart as they come for starting pitchers. He has the pitches and the mental part to help him turn his season around. If the Red Sox want to get back in this division race at all, Sale has to build off of his great start today. Something tells me this isn’t the last good start Sale has in the 2019 season.