This will probably be the only time Chris Sale appears on this side of the ledger, and it really does feel weird to have him here, but aside from his past two starts, he’s looked nothing at all like the Sale we’ve all become accustomed to.
The Red Sox ace, who is still winless on the season at 0-5, got off to a downright awful start. In his first outing, he lasted just three innings while surrendering seven earned runs and three home runs. He found a bit more success in his second start, allowing just one run over six innings, but only tallied a single strikeout. Sale allowed five runs and four runs in his third and fourth starts, respectively, and didn’t truly begin to look like himself until his fifth turn in the rotation, in which he struck out 10 while allowing two earned runs in five innings in a loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Here comes the good news. Sale followed that strong outing against Detroit with a seven-inning, two-earned-run, eight-strikeout performance against the Rays. Winless though he may still be, at least he now looks like Chris Sale. His velocity is back, and with it are the strikeouts.
Sale had a very truncated Spring Training, which no doubt contributed to his rocky first month. Now that he has some meaningful innings under his belt, he should be back to normal. Sale still needs to work on limiting home runs; he only has one homer-free start so far. Barring injury, however, the Red Sox can once again count on him to lead their staff.