Even When Chris Sale Is Off, He’s On

by Jake Archer | Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017
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This may sound nuts, but yesterday in the first few innings you could tell that Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale didn’t have his “A” game. I know, he had five strikeouts through the first two innings, but the Minnesota Twins were swinging at everything and Sale just looked like he was missing the strike zone a little bit more than usual.

A few innings later, staked to a 4-0 lead, Chris Sale unraveled a bit. It started with a hit batter, which seemed questionable until replay showed that the ball did graze Chris Gimenez’s leg by a small margin. Next came a bloop single to left and then a bunt single that should probably have been fielded by Sox third baseman Deven Marrero. So now just like that, the Twins had loaded the bases against Sale with no outs.

The next batter hit a sacrifice fly to left field before Sale walked another to load the bases again with one out. Yes, the home plate umpire may have been squeezing Sale a bit, but he was still having trouble finding the zone and the Twins were backing off and being patient. At this point, another single into center would score two and cut the lead to 4-3. Sale was laboring and looked like he may be coming undone.

The next batter, Miguel Sano, saw a passed ball go by him as Sandy Leon simply couldn’t handle a pitch that he should have and the runners moved up. Sano would walk and load the bases once again for Kenny Vargas. Vargas hit a sac fly to tie the game and Sale would leave it there after he struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

It was a bit of a wonky inning as not much was hard hit and Sale was not getting the benefit of the doubt with the strike zone. But credit must go to the Twins for making him work and batting around in the inning. However, the thing that I noticed above all else was how Sale deals with adversity.

In a frustrating inning, Sale never completely lost it. He didn’t give up the lead and he didn’t tap out. All that he did was bear down and get out of it. After that bottom of the fifth, it seemed like maybe Sale would be done for the day. I wasn’t sure that he should go back out there because he was probably spent. Yet Sale continues to show why he is unlike any other pitcher I’ve ever seen and he went back out for the bottom of the sixth to save the bullpen one extra inning. After all that, the Sox offense backed Sale up by adding two in the top of the sixth and Sale went out and got Minnesota to go 1-2-3 in the bottom half, including his 10th strikeout.

It was just funny to watch this guy “struggle” to the tune of six innings, four hits, four runs and 10 strikeouts. He walked three batters, which is unusual but still got the results. He dealt with adversity and still turned in a start that I’ll take ten times out of ten. A bad day for Chris Sale is still a great day for most other pitchers and if this was a “bad” day, well then I’m even more excited to have this guy on my favorite team.

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Jake Archer
About the Author

Jake is a sports blogger with a passion for baseball and the Red Sox. He loves pitcher's duels, ballpark food and listening to games on the radio. He's got some strong opinions on things like pace-of-play, the DH rule and more. Follow him on Twitter at @jarcher04.







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