Chris Sale is a sensational pitcher. I won’t bore you with all the numbers that back that up. Instead, I’ll thrill you with them because they are just that good. In his year and some change with the Red Sox, he has struck out 359 batters in 256 1⁄3 innings, while posting a 2.53 FIP, 167 ERA+ and 2.77 ERA. Last year, he led the majors in innings pitched, strikeouts, FIP and strikeouts per nine innings.
Despite this, it feels like he doesn’t always get the help he deserves. Sale doesn’t blame anyone for that and he shouldn’t. The Red Sox are not going out of their way to make things more difficult for their ace. Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, like on Tuesday when Boston had four errors and a blown save from the usually infallible Craig Kimbrel.
As people look around for answers, there is the temptation to assume the Red Sox don’t give Sale enough run support. But that isn’t actually true. Last season, among qualified starters, Sale was sixth in the majors in run support (5.53 runs per game) and this year, he’s 21st, getting 5.14 runs per contest. Additionally, even though he doesn’t always get a decision, the Red Sox are still so much better when he starts, with a 26-13 record in the last two seasons in games when Sale starts.
That doesn’t mean the Red Sox aren’t wasting a few starts from their best pitcher or that they shouldn’t be winning more often when a guy of his caliber starts the game, but let’s not let a few bad games ruin the fact that Sale is great and the Red Sox are more often than not great when he is pitching.
In addition to it being a myth that Sale doesn’t get enough run support, its also a myth that something is wrong with the Red Sox ace. (Cam Ellis; BP Boston)
J.D. Martinez “only” hit one home run yesterday, but he also felt some pain in his thumb. He’s going to keep playing though. (Michael Silverman and Jason Mastrodonato; Boston Herald)
Even though they lost, the Boston Bruins had Pedro Martinez in the building for their playoff game against the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. (Conor Ryan; MassLive)
Joe Kelly had fun in the bleachers, but he’s happier when he pitches. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)
After a poor start to the game, Drew Pomeranz turned it around and ended up pitching fairly well yesterday. (Kevin Dillon; MassLive)