The Road Woes of Chris Sale Are A Cause for Concern

By Bryan Lutz

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale is having a Cy Young caliber season. No one can complain about a guy going 15-5 with a 2.81 ERA heading into September, especially when that guy is a converted reliever. There isn’t a pitcher I trust more than Sale on this pitching staff, even though Jake Peavy has been every bit as dominant. However, there is one downward trend regarding Sale right now, and that is his performances in road starts.

Now, Sale’s “bad” is good for a lot of pitchers, but his home/away splits are night and day, especially lately. Here are Sale’s splits for the season:

Home:  11 starts, 8-2, 1.74 ERA, 6.17 K:BB, and .535 OPS allowed.

Road: 12 starts, 7-3, 3.86 ERA, 3.00 K:BB, and .717 OPS allowed.

As I said, Sale’s “bad” is actually decent, but his numbers are basically doubled on the road. I didn’t notice this trend until Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, where Sale allowed four earned in four innings of work. But if you look at Sale’s game logs since the all-star break, you can see the all-star lefty is really struggling on the road.

8/17 @ KC – – 6 2/3 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO

7/27 @TEX – – 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO

7/21 @DET – – 7  IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO

7/15 @KC – – 8 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO

So since the break, Sale has allowed 15 earned runs in 28 innings, certainly not the quality of pitching Sox fans are used to out of their Cy Young candidate.

Why is this trend concerning? Well, Chris Sale takes on the Detroit Tigers this Sunday night in the 313, against Justin Verlander no less. Depending on what goes on the three days prior to Sunday’s contest, this game could have a lot of meaning, so much so that first place could be on the line heading into Labor Day.

Am I overreacting and overanalyzing Sale’s splits? Probably. But Sox fans need to hope this trend ends Sunday. Or else September might become a little more stressful.

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.

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