So far in 2017, Chris Sale has been everything the Boston Red Sox could have dreamed for when they acquired the left-hander from the Chicago White Sox in the offseason. Despite his success, the Red Sox offense is providing Sale very little run support.
In his fourth start with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, Chris Sale excelled against the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. He pitched eight innings without allowing a run. He allowed four hits, a walk and struck out 13 batters. The following tweet from MLB Network’s Twitter account shows how dominant Sale was.
Boston’s offense didn’t score a run for Sale until the top of the ninth inning. With Sale at 102 pitches, manager John Farrell elected to send out closer Craig Kimbrel to shut the door. Kimbrel surrendered a game-tying solo home run to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox won the game in the 10th inning but nevertheless handed Sale an undeserved no-decision.
This is nothing new for Sale in a Red Sox uniform. So far, in 29.2 innings of work Sale has received just a 1.50 run support average. Sale is tied with Carlos Martinez and Marco Estrada for fifth-worst run support average among qualified pitchers in 2017.
Despite the lack of run support, the 28-year-old owns a 1-1 record with a 0.91 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and 42 strikeouts. He currently leads the major leagues in strikeouts. His WHIP is ranked second and his ERA is ranked sixth among qualified pitchers.
In his first start of the season versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sale pitched seven shutout innings. He earned a no-decision in that game when the Red Sox failed to score a run for him. Five days later in his second start of 2017 against the Detroit Tigers, Sale allowed two runs in 7.2 innings of work and received the loss because the Red Sox only scored one run for him.
Sale finally earned his first win with the Red Sox in his third start of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays. Even though he earned the win, Sale only got two runs of support.
In 2016, the Boston Red Sox scored the most runs in baseball with 878. So far this season, despite having the second-best team batting average, the Red Sox rank 13th in runs scored with 69.
As the season progresses, the Red Sox’s run total should rise, and with that, run support for Sale. But if the Red Sox don’t start providing Sale with more run support, the team might have to hide any scissors lying around the clubhouse.