Red Sox: Chris Sale’s struggles not concerning
The lefty has encountered some struggles against good competition, but there’s no need to panic yet.
An ace is summoned to stop the bleeding when a team desperately needs it.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale hasn’t been an ace against strong competition lately. Last night’s performance against the Astros in Houston served as Sale’s second consecutive loss. Sale allowed four runs (one home run) on six hits in six innings pitched. The Red Sox were able to keep the game close until Joe Kelly was lit up for three runs in 1/3 innings.
Since Sale’s gem against the Yankees in April, he hasn’t faced high level competition for most of the young season. When the lefty faced a young Braves team, he was rung for six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Two bad outings against two good offenses is unsettling, but there should be no cause for concern.
Two bad games doesn’t represent a season’s worth. Even with the ugly start against Atlanta, Sale’s ERA for May was 3.15. Last season his ERA for May was 4.24, before he went on a tear in June (2.78) and July (1.04).
Sale went on to finish as the season as a Cy Young runner up to Cleveland Indians starter Corey Kluber. For those who are concerned about Sale’s recent struggles, let’s compare his season to Kluber’s at this time last year:
Corey Kluber April 2, 2017 – June 1, 2017:
4.36 ERA, .244 AVG, .315 wOBA.
Christ Sale March 28, 2018 – June 1, 2018:
3.00 ERA, .191 AVG, .267 wOBA.
The stats are eerily similar between the two. Both are phenomenal pitchers who have proven to recover from tough stretches in a season. One even went on to win a Cy Young after doing so — can Sale rebound in a similar fashion? This season’s innings restriction suggests he’ll be fresh enough to bounce back.
Next: Boston Red Sox 2018 player grades at the one-third mark
The Red Sox are counting on Sale to be the leader of the pitching staff and the ace of the team. If the Red Sox lead the league in runs but continue to have early inning meltdowns against elite talent, they won’t make it very far in the playoffs. The act is becoming old — two years old to be exact.