Red Sox: Chris Sale focused on bringing another banner to Boston
By Sean Penney
Chris Sale is excited to be joining the Boston Red Sox this season for one simple reason – an improved shot at finally pitching in the postseason.
When pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp on Monday, Chris Sale was among the Boston Red Sox players that had already settled in at JetBlue Park ready to get to work.
The most recent addition to Boston’s trio of aces was acquired last December in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. While many players would still be adjusting to the process of uprooting their lives to leave behind the only franchise they’ve ever known, Sale is excited to be a member of the Red Sox.
Why is Sale happy to be in Boston? He wants to win.
When asked by the media gathered in Fort Myers about coming to Boston, Sale replied, “We’ve got a lot of banners here and I’d like to add to that.”
Since his debut with Chicago in 2010, Sale has yet to pitch a playoff game. The 27-year old has made a handful of All-Star appearances and has seen his name listed on his fair share of Cy Young ballots, but hasn’t been given the opportunity to perform on the postseason stage.
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That should change in the near future. He’s joining a loaded roster deemed to be the heavy favorite to repeat as division champions, giving him an excellent shot at pitching in October. Sale has spent most of his career on a team building for the future, but now finds himself on one poised to be a contender this season.
Sale may be looking forward to his postseason debut, but should his lack of a track record in October be a concern for the Red Sox?
Boston has arguably the best pitching staff in the American League, but none of the five projected to begin the season in the rotation have ever won a playoff game. David Price‘s postseason struggles have been well documented – he’s 0-8 as a starter with a career postseason ERA north of 5.00. The glare from Rick Porcello‘s shiny new Cy Young trophy isn’t quite enough to distract from his 0-3 record and 5.66 ERA in the postseason.
The Red Sox already had a pair of aces, but fans clamored for one that could lead them on the postseason stage. What they got is a pitcher that’s never been tested at that level.
Don’t hit the panic button yet. Just because Sale hasn’t done it before, doesn’t mean he’s not capable. Pedro Martinez never pitched in the postseason before he came to Boston, but he turned out to be pretty good.
I’m banking on Sale’s talent to deliver when he gets his chance. He’s clearly driven to succeed and the World Series banners hanging at Fenway Park serve as a constant reminder of what the expectations are for this franchise.
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The preparation and hard work that begins now in spring training all builds toward the ultimate goal of winning a championship. For perhaps the first time in his career, Sale enters camp knowing that his team has a legitimate chance at a title.
No wonder he seems so happy to be here.