The All-Star Game is coming up on Tuesday, and Chris Sale is almost certain to start that game for the American League. It’s fair to say he’s deserving of the honor, as his first half has been one of the most incredible runs for any player in recent Red Sox history. That first half is officially over for Boston’s ace, with Thursday night’s outing in Tampa being his final pre-break outing. With that being the case, let’s take a look back at just a few of his most impressive numbers from the first half.
- Chris Sale has 177 strikeouts through his first 18 starts and 127 innings of the season. In 2016, only 25 pitchers in all of baseball struck out that many batters over the course of a full season, and none did it in fewer than 168 innings.
- To go along with those strikeouts, Sale has been amazing at limiting his walks. He’s walked at least three batters in only two of his 18 starts so far this year and has walked one or zero batters in 12 of those 18 outings.
- Sale has started 43 at bats with a 2-0 count in 2017. Batters end up hitting .138/.395/.138. In other words, no batter has an extra-base hit off Sale after getting to a 2-0 count.
- In 197 at bats with Sale getting ahead in the count, he has been unsurprisingly dominant. Batters are hitting just .124/.138/.181 against him when trailing in the count. Only Max Scherzer has been better when ahead in counts this year.
- Perhaps the most impressive part of Sale’s season is how he starts games. In the first inning of games he has a whopping 30 strikeouts in 18 innings of work and has a whopping 46 percent strikeout rate. Unsurprisingly, no pitcher in baseball has allowed less damage in the first inning.
- Over the first three innings of his starts, batters are hitting just .174/.208/.261 off Sale and he has 97 strikeouts in 54 innings of work with a 48 percent strikeout rate. Zack Greinke is tied with Sale in terms of limiting damage in the first third of games.
- Along those same lines, he has allowed a .475 OPS to hitters in their first plate appearance of a game and he’s struck out 76 batters in 161 plate appearances for a rate of 47 percent. He also has only five walks in that time. Only Jeff Samardzija has a better K/BB ratio his first time through the order.
- Prior to Sale’s start on Thursday, the ace had a DRA of 1.84. If he were to finish the season with that mark, it would be the best full-season mark for a pitcher with at least 100 innings since 1985.
- The most important fun fact about Chris Sale: He is a member of the Boston Red Sox.