- Tim Burke
Red Sox Fans Should Believe in Chris Sale
If the Red Sox want to make a serious World Series run they will likely need Chris Sale to make a major contribution. The pressure of being an ace in Boston is a lot to handle. All eyes are on you and the expectations of fans are high. In Boston, if you don’t deliver, the city nearly forgets everything you have accomplished for their team. Tuukka Rask is the prime example of this. Unfortunately for Chris Sale, he is now experiencing this notorious Boston backlash, after not meeting the majority of the fans expectations in 2022. Personally, I believed the expectations for Chris Sale upon his return from Tommy John were absolutely ludicrous. The man returned from major surgery, at thirty two and was expected to jump into the pennant race and be lights out. In an ideal world, that would have happened. We do not always live in an ideal world. Due to some particular cases, there is a belief that pitchers can come back stronger and better. The hardest part of many come back stories is not the work to get back but actually returning to normal once you are back. I can say that every single pitcher I have seen return from Tommy John surgery has several moments where they have significantly struggled on the mound.
At the end of the day, pitchers need to adjust after receiving major surgery. When a pitcher has come back from a long layoff, no matter what the injury is, they are going to have several issues with their pitching mechanics. We saw this happen to Chris Sale in 2021 and he adjusted rather quickly. Red Sox fans should remember he ended the season on a high note allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in 5.1 innings striking out 7. For someone who was struggling mechanically, with his arm strength nowhere near 100%, Sale did his job by giving the Red Sox a chance to win.
Was it a classic postseason performance from an ace? No, but If you look around the game of baseball, starting pitching has changed. Analytics has shown Major League Front Offices and Managers alike that starting pitchers are significantly less effective the third time through the order.
Which means, teams only want their starters to go through the opposing lineup twice in the postseason. They believe mixing and matching their pitchers for certain matchups is the best way to win. As Red Sox fans, we witnessed Nathan Eovaldi have several very good starts in the 2021 postseason but he rarely pitched in the sixth inning and he was dominating. So what Chris Sale gave you in his last start was what the Red Sox wanted. The only job a starter has in modern baseball is give you a chance to win. Chris Sale did that in 2021. It was not pretty but he got the job done.
Another thing we are forgetting about Sale was that he had a strong regular season. His ERA of 3.16 was very good and he was still striking out batters at a high rate. Why are Red Sox fans acting like he sucked? He definitely was not the Chris Sale we are used to seeing. His 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Red Sox were the best Boston has seen from a pitcher since Pedro Martinez’s 1999 and 2000 campaigns. Chris Sale was electric. Unfortunately, he got hurt. Due to his major injury, he was less durable and less effective. Chris Sale will be thirty three whenever Opening Day is. Despite John Henry trying to brainwash Red Sox Nation that pitchers are no longer effective after the age of thirty, he is wrong. Sale is not old enough to be at a career crossroads after his surgery. There is plenty left in the tank. At the end of the day, we have zero reason to doubt a healthy Chris Sale. He has been nothing but great his whole career. He is the best pitcher the team Boston has had in the last fifteen years. So going to lose faith because he had a major injury and did not immediately return to his usual greatness? Why have Red Sox fans become so negative and pessimistic? Unfortunately, we live in a city where a certain radio station does nothing but trash John Henry, and the entire Red Sox organization simply because they’re the only team they don’t have media rights to.
So if you have heard members of the “Media” at 98.5 who say Chris Sale is done they are people with agendas against the Red Sox and or get paid to talk too much and need to say something “interesting.” It is pathetic. If Chris Sale is healthy he will be an effective pitcher for us. The Red Sox have a good training staff that will do their best to make sure he is healthy. The Red Sox organization has been more successful than any other baseball team in the 21st century. There is no reason to listen to people in Boston Sports Media who try to tell you otherwise. Believe in the Red Sox and believe in the players who have performed here. There is no legitimate reason not to.