Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale – New Sox, Same Domination
After a change of scenery, Chris Sale is performing as advertised with the Boston Red Sox to start 2017 season.
It was one of the biggest moves of the winter: the Boston Red Sox trading for premier ace Chris Sale. While Boston did give up a lot, including pitching prospect Michael Kopech and the top minor league prospect, Yoan Moncada, Sale is pitching as advertised to start the year.
Sale has developed a knack for getting off to extremely hot starts over the past few seasons. In 2015, 11 of his first 13 starts were quality starts where he allowed three runs or fewer. Sale at one point also had eight straight starts of double-digit strikeouts. Last year, he got off to a blazing 9-0 start featuring three complete games. Sale has been an All-Star five years running, but somewhat surprisingly has yet to win a Cy Young award.
While the strong starts have not been the issue, an argument can be made for the back-half of seasons. Two seasons ago, he lost four of his last five starts, and last year, Sale went 2-4 in his last six decisions. Those numbers, coupled with the fact that he was on an under-performing Chicago White Sox team, could be reasons why there are no Cy’s yet for Sale.
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With a new change of scenery, might a complete season now be more obtainable for Sale? Leaving Chicago for Boston was thought to be a massive upgrade in offensive support as well. However, ironically, Sale has not seen that run support come through fully as of yet. The Red Sox led the league in runs a year ago, but so far have only provided Sale a grand total of six runs in three games early on.
Sale currently leads the league in strikeouts and owns a 1.25 ERA. With David Price still on the disabled list, and with seemingly the entire roster either battling the flu bug or other nagging injuries, Boston has had to lean on Sale to start the season. With Patriot’s Day on the horizon, so far Sale has answered that challenge.
But there is one number that Sale is likely only concerned with, and that is zero. As in zero postseason starts in his career. Now in his eighth year, Sale hopes that this is finally his year to experience postseason baseball. When healthy, the Red Sox do have the pieces to make a run at October baseball.
So while the Red Sox work on getting rid of the flu, Sale will continue to make opposing hitters look sick at the plate. Even with a change of “Sox” colors and scenery, Sale is once again off to his accustomed fast start. Just how deep the run goes will remain to be seen. For Boston, if it leads to the playoffs, that heavy package of talent they gave up would be worth that Sale price tag.