Chris Sale had one of the worst stretches of starts we’ve ever seen from the lefty during his time in the majors. Quite possibly, it could have been the worst stretch of starts he’s ever had. While there was plenty of speculation as to why he was struggling in the first month of the season, we at least now know that there was a toe injury that could have contributed to his 0-5 start, per Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.
According to McCaffrey’s column, pitching coach Dana LeVangie had told her that while there were contract negotiations that were surrounding Sale during the spring, another piece that was slowing him down was this previously unknown injury. While it’s been known that the team anticipated doing the exact same thing this spring as they had in 2018–which inevitably led to a World Series title–LeVangie told McCaffrey, “I basically felt like he was going through his Spring Training, sort of in April.”
Coming off of a brand new contract extension with the Red Sox, Sale’s slow start was a cause for concern for many. While there was a debate that raged on in the early stages of Spring Training about whether or not they should give the 30-year-old ace a new deal, or wait to see how the season plays out, the Red Sox front office decided to pull the trigger rather than allowing Sale to hit the open market following the 2019 season.
With the team previously being hesitant to give lucrative deals to pitchers entering their early 30s–i.e., Jon Lester–some believe the team was tepid to allow the same mistake to happen again.
Sale’s April was a tough watch if you’re a Red Sox fan. The velocity at points was just barely topping out in the low 90s and occasionally, it would struggle to even break out of the 80s.
The team opened the season in Seattle where Sale had his doors blown off for seven runs in just 3.0 IP. If you had to miss Opening Day, I envy you.
Things didn’t necessarily straighten themselves out either. It took Sale until May 3rd to collect his first win which came against his former ballclub, the Chicago White Sox. We’ve seemed to find the real Chris Sale though through the month of May with his numbers improving exponentially.
His ERA through the current month, including today’s 5.1 IP performance against perhaps the hottest team in baseball in the Houston Astros, sits at 2.05 with a 0.72 WHIP. This recent stretch also includes a 17 strikeout show he put on at Fenway against the Colorado Rockies where he looked as dominant as we’ve ever seen him.
Sale appears to be back to the guy that Red Sox fans have grown accustomed to. And personally, I find it hard to believe that Sale’s toe injury was significant enough to cause him to pitch as poor as he did. But I am certain that it did play a major contributing factor in his early season slump.
IT’S THE NBA POST SEASON & STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS! YOUR ONLINE SOURCE IS BETONLINE.AG. THEY’RE THE GO-TO SOURCE ONLINE SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT GAMING. USE PROMO CODE: CLNS50 FOR 50% CASHBACK ON FIRST DEPOSIT.