The Red Sox have been up and down the whole season but in the month of May, Chris Sale has been a man on fire, striking batters out left and right.
As the Month of May draws to a close, the Boston Red Sox have played a roller coaster type season but Chris Sale has looked dominant his last five starts.
Since his first start of the month, which was on May 3, Sale has averaged an excellent strikeout to walk ratio and has been durable and reliable considering that the rest of the pitching has been spotty this season.
In his first start of the month against the Chicago White Sox, Sale pitched 6 innings and struck out 10. In his next start on May 8 at Baltimore, he threw for 8 innings and struck out 14. On May 14 against Colorado, Sale threw for an absolutely vicious 17 strikeout game. He followed that up on May 19 against the Astros by throwing 5 1/3 innings and striking out 10. In his last start at Houston, he threw 6 innings and struck out his month low total of 5.
Over the last month, Sale has struck out a total of 56 batters and has walked only 8. This is quite the strikeout to walk ratio, which is at an impressive 7:1. As a pitcher, you cannot get a whole lot better than that.
Throughout the month, Sale has also averaged over 6 innings per start. This is key that he can go 6+ innings if the Red Sox want to go back to their winning ways. However, to do this they are going to have to get some support behind Sale which has been lacking, to say the least. When Sale pitches this year, according to baseball reference, the run support behind him is only at a 2.97. This is very low production for a team that is trying to get some runs for their best pitcher.
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Having such poor run production behind you when you pitch can be frustrating but Sale has done a great job of not putting any blame on his teammates. However, I think he knows in his mind that this Red Sox lineup is more than capable of producing runs. Though to be honest, not even averaging 3 runs a game when Sale is pitching is alarming and needs to change quickly. It is infuriating as we all know how capable this team is of producing runs and they just seem to be unable to when Sale is on the mound. Perhaps they get too relaxed knowing how good he is and has been?
Though Sale’s ERA has been extremely high for his standards, he’s been putting on a show the whole month of May and I think he will continue to do so. To do so, I will also demonstrate that he also still has zip on that fastball of his. According to Brooks Baseball, Sale has been able to maintain some of his dominant traits on his four-seam fastball averaging 93.96 mph for the game on May 19 against Houston when he struck out 10 batters. Sale has been known to have a great fastball and his career and I think he still does, as long as he can locate it the way he has been, he will be fine.
The Red Sox need Sale to pitch the way he has been pitching like he has been for the majority of his career for them to have any chance at repeating for a World Series title in 2019. However, to do this the run support has got to be there for him to succeed. So far, the Red Sox offense has trouble doing this. If Sale can also stay healthy moving forward, I think he will be just fine.
Though the Sox are struggling to find themselves at the moment it is good that they have a healthy Sale who has also been bringing the heat this month. This upcoming series against the Yankees is going to be a key battle because it is a 4-game series and has an opportunity to push the team back into the thick of things, especially after a tough series like the last one was against the Indians.