Chris Sale Is Proving Why He Is an Elite Starting Pitcher
It’s been an interesting couple months for Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale. The former reliever/closer looked fantastic in the month of April as a starting pitcher – but then out of nowhere – the Chicago White Sox decided to put Chris Sale back in the bullpen after he said his elbow was tender. Every White Sox fan understandably panicked about this horrendous move, obviously thinking about the worst case scenario. No matter what was wrong with Chris Sale, it was a lose-lose situation. The White Sox were either going to waste their best pitcher in the bullpen, or Chris Sale was seriously hurt.
In Chris Sale’s first relief appearance, he blew a save against the Cleveland Indians in the 8th inning where he allowed two inherited runs and one unearned run. This blown save has been the most valuable blown save in Major League history. If Chris Sale converted that save in grand fashion, there’s no doubt in my mind he would still be closing today. But since he blew the save, it allowed the White Sox brass to reconsider the move, and make the right decision by putting Chris Sale back into the starting rotation after his MRI was “pristine” as Kenny Williams put it.
In the 24 2/3 innings since Chris Sale was put back into the starting rotation, he has a 3-1 record, a ERA of 1.82, struck out 31 hitters, and his opponent’s OPS allowed is .492. On Memorial Day, Chris Sale proved exactly why he should remain in the starting rotation, earning his sixth win of the season by striking out 15 Tampa Bay Rays’ hitters in 7 1/3 innings. Addison Reed – who also benefited from Chris Sale starting so he could rightfully close – saved the game with the 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Believe it or not, but there has only been one pitcher in the American League that has been more productive than Chris Sale. That pitcher is 2011 Cy Young and MVP award winner, Justin Verlander.
Am I worried about Chris Sale’s durability? Absolutely, what Sox fan isn’t? Will the body frame of an 11-year old girl put more wear and tear on his body? Probably, but Chris Sale belongs in the starting rotation.
Bryan is a featured writer for Rant Sports. Although he concentrates mostly on the game of baseball, you can find him covering things all over the Rant Sports Network.