Chris Sale’s return is necessary for the Boston Red Sox clubhouse
Wednesday night was set up to be an intriguing one for anybody that follows the Boston Red Sox organization. With top pitching prospect, Brayan Bello, making his major league debut at Fenway against Tampa Bay, the team’s ace, Chris Sale, made his rehab start about 50 miles west in Worcester.
Sale pitched 3 2/3 innings in what could potentially be his last outing before his long-awaited return to Boston. The star lefty was taken out of the game after walking a batter with nowhere to put him, and this was his reaction to that decision:
This isn’t a reaction you see from players too many times – especially from a minor league game. Yes, it is Chris Sale, so this outing was obviously going to get more publicity. But, outbursts like this don’t happen too often on camera. Perhaps the one incident that comes to mind is David Ortiz destroying the dugout phone to smithereens, following a questionable strikeout call at Camden Yards in 2013. Ortiz is a figure that nobody can really compare to, whether it comes to his on-field performance, or his leadership and ability to pump up the clubhouse. However, Sale has been known to be that type of figurehead for this ballclub in past years.
Everyone will remember this display of passion from Sale in Game Four of the 2018 World Series. He’s a leader, and that’s something the Red Sox need at this moment in time. Forget about his presence on the mound for a second, the Sox need someone who can rally this group together, and help steady the ship before it crashes.
In terms of his pitching, that’s a glaring need as well. 23-year-old Bello gave up four runs on six hits over four innings pitched Wednesday at Fenway. With the hype surrounding his start, it wasn’t fair on the kid. We were seeing comparisons to Pedro Martinez on the socials, literally piling on the maximum pressure before his first major league outing. I don’t think anyone doubts Bello’s talents, and that he’ll eventually be a great pitcher for this ballclub, but he was never supposed to be here at the midway point of the 2022 season.
The Red Sox pitching staff has been decimated. Having to go through Josh Winckowski, Connor Seabold, and then Bello, it just shows the desperation at this point, rushing three of the organization’s pitching prospects up to the big leagues. The Sox just need bodies at this point, but to have Sale back and available soon is beyond massive for this team.
The team hosts the offensive juggernaut New York Yankees for four, before travelling to Tampa and then the Bronx before the All-Star break. It’s not clear whether Sale will make another rehab start or not before returning to Boston, but he’ll be in the rotation following the break. The Sox need to weather the storm now before the week off. Dropping Wednesday’s rubber game against the Rays was a devastating blow. It means that the team is still winless against division rivals through eight series’ on the year. The journey to hopefully a wildcard spot could get very messy if the Sox don’t get much out of these next two series.
The runs need to start coming in, and innings have to start being put together by this thin pitching staff. From both a baseball and mental point of view, Sale’s return is only going to help everyone involved here. Getting him back into the clubhouse will boost morale, help to boost the team’s performance as a whole, and finally get this side’s ace back on that mound.