Chris Sale winning pitcher of the month is slap in Red Sox face before Braves series

Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Chris Sale has won the National League Pitcher of the Month award after dominating May.

A series of unfortunate events allowed for the award to sting Boston Red Sox fans, in particular. The trade involving Sale looks less and less promising for the Sox.

Sale pitched to a 0.56 ERA in May, and he racked up a stellar 45 strikeouts. Ten of those strikeouts came on May 8, as Sale plowed through Boston's lineup to collect a season-best performance. The Red Sox will begin a second two-game series with the Braves on June 4, and they're lucky enough not to face Sale this time.

The lefty made five starts in May and provided length in all of them — he posted three seven-inning outings and collected a win in all five.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have been in trouble. Garrett Whitlock was diagnosed with ulnar collateral underwent his second major elbow surgery since 2019. His season ended unceremoniously, as he hadn't pitched for the Red Sox in weeks by that point — the elbow issue arose while Whitlock was on a rehab assignment for an oblique injury.

Chris Sale wins NL Pitcher of the Month right after Vaughn Grissom's injury

Sale's arm would fall in lockstep with the rest of the Red Sox's rotation. His May numbers were as exceptional as Kutter Crawford's, Nick Pivetta's and Tanner Houck's early stats and his left-handedness would've offered a nice reprieve from the righty-heavy roster.

Recently, Boston's trade for Vaughn Grissom has been a hot topic. The young infielder strained a hamstring while he attempted to run out a ground ball on June 1. He was pulled from the Sox's game against the Tigers and placed on the injured list for the second time this season.

Many Boston fans have been discouraged by Grissom's slow progress with the Red Sox. He has time to become a great player at just 23 years old and with years of team control, but seeing him struggle while Sale thrives is a gut punch, indeed.

Strangely enough, Sale posted his worst outing of the season on the date of Grissom's injury. He got rocked for eight runs in four innings by the A's on June 1, just one day outside of the window for his Pitcher of the Month award.

Sale's success is a reminder that no one should be counted out in MLB. Even after a few rough, and utterly unlucky seasons with the Red Sox, Sale still has a Cy Young-caliber arm — and it stings to see him flex it elsewhere.

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