Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale will thrive against AL East foes
By Sean Penney
Typical concerns about pitchers coming over to the AL East don’t apply to new Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who has dominated this division in his career.
Concerned about how new Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale will fare moving to a new division? Don’t be.
The American League East has a history of boasting some of the most feared offensive teams in baseball. Deep lineups, power threats and hitters that have a knack for getting on base are all traits that have been a staple of teams in this division. The majority of these teams calling home to hitter-friendly stadiums is certainly a contributing factor as well. It can be a nightmare for opposing pitchers to face, which is why fans can be skeptical when their team acquires a new pitcher that has never played for a team in this division.
There are no such worries with Sale, who has dominated this division throughout his career.
Sale went 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in his six starts against the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays this year.
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He wasn’t too shabby against the Red Sox either, as Sale picked up a win in Boston after holding the best offense in the majors to a single run over seven innings last June. An added benefit of having Sale on our side is that the Red Sox no longer have to face him.
The lanky lefty’s success against the AL East isn’t limited to 2016. He has a spectacular track record against the division, showing particular success on the road in enemy territory.
The biggest threat to Boston’s division crown currently appears to be the Blue Jays, a team Sale is 4-2 against in his career with a 2.25 ERA. He’s been even better when traveling to the Rogers Centre, where he owns a 1.80 ERA.
Sale’s numbers against the Orioles have been solid, posting a 2-2 record and 3.41 ERA against Baltimore in his career. However, he’s been remarkably better at Camden Yards, where his ERA drops to 2.49.
Red Sox fans will be most excited about Sale’s dominance over their fiercest rival. In ten appearances (seven starts) against the Yankees, Sale is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA. That gives him the lowest ERA against the Yankees of any pitcher in history with a minimum of 50 innings pitched.
Oddly enough, it’s been the light-hitting Rays that have given Sale the most trouble in this division. A 3.76 ERA certainly isn’t terrible, but it’s the third highest ERA that Sale owns against AL teams. Most of that damage came in the launching pad known as U.S. Cellular field in Chicago, where the Rays were able to break out the long ball. In the pitcher-friendly confines of Tropicana Field, Sale has dominated Tampa Bay to the tune of a 1.44 ERA.
Sale has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last half decade, finishing in the top six in Cy Young voting in each of the last five years. While the AL East may have its share of fearsome lineups, Sale has the skill set to thrive in any environment.