After a terrible start to the season, there are many things out of place for the Boston Red Sox. Chris Sale isn’t one of these.
We are currently two days away from May and the Boston Red Sox are 11-17. I think it’s fair to say that no one expected this to be the picture right now, but there we have it. Seven and a half games back of AL East leaders, the impressive Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox have created a massive hole for themselves coming off the back of, perhaps, the greatest season in franchise history.
A lot of stuff has gone wrong for the Red Sox to start the year, but they’re definitely better than the record shows, and something has got to give sooner rather than later. The fan base has expressed concern when it comes to many different areas, which is fair, however, nobody should lose their cool just yet.
Chris Sale is somebody who the focus seems to be on when it comes to people’s worries. Boston’s stud, coming off an offseason where he signed a $145 million extension, has started the year 0-5. Sale started the year off pretty slow last season, however, he only went on to lose four games in the whole of the regular season. This will be a reason why so many people seem to be losing their heads so early on. Sure, 0-5 isn’t good, is it? And a 6.30 ERA through six starts isn’t the best. But, there have been glimpses of the ace at his best. He’s shown that he’s still there by growing into games, and the time when he’s fully throwing out there will come quickly. We’ve just got to be patient.
Remember last year when there was panic about Sale’s form? It didn’t seem as bad as it has at times to start this year, but it was still a call for concern. He didn’t look himself at all. He lost three in succession at the end of May/start of June (One with only one ER – not his fault) but came up strong when the Sox needed him most. Sale’s the type of ace that is made for the big occasions, come September and October – and that’s why he’s so valuable to this team.
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For most, the focus was on the offense last year. Sale wasn’t his best but pitched well to start the year, and eventually got to his best towards the end. However, every Sale Day seemed like an anxious occasion. Was the offense going to turn up? Will they score more than a couple of runs? In four of Sale’s first seven starts in 2018, he got a no-decision whilst giving up one or fewer runs – pitching five or more innings on each occasion. It just shows that the pitcher’s record and their ERA can be deceiving.
Sale’s only given up more than two earned runs in three of his six starts this year – which isn’t exactly the disaster that it’s being made out to be. No, it’s not the perfect start for Sale, but it’s no area for concern either. The main concern when it comes to Chris is his health. Hopefully, we can have a year free of injuries for our ace and he can show everybody that he’s the nine-figure pitcher everybody knows he is.
In two of Sale’s starts in 2019, the offense scored zero runs and in one they scored two. When you’ve got your ace on the mound it should be giving the lineup more confidence to hit. They know on his best day that if you score a handful of runs you’re guaranteed to take the game. We’ve seen a lack of fierceness from the lineup at times and the main concern is the number of base runners that have been left out there. This type of problem was being showcased at times last year and we all know how that turned out.
But the Sox have slipped so far down the AL East ladder that it’s beginning to become a real worry. We know that we’ve got the talent in this lineup to produce a ton of runs – this was showcased last week, as they dropped eleven on the Tigers. It just needs to be more consistent. As we approach the time of year when the season is now in full swing, the Sox can only get better. With a lineup led by the bat of AL MVP Mookie Betts, runs will come. Patience is a virtue, and so is believing in your team.