In his first year as a starter for the Chicago White Sox in 2012, Chris Sale emerged as one of the top arms in baseball. However, after dominating the American League with a 2.19 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP before the All-Star break, the left-hander faltered in the second half, posting a 4.03 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
Determined to avoid a post All-Star break let down this year, Sale committed himself to an offseason training and diet program. Gaining around 15-pounds of muscle in the winter, the 24-year-old southpaw’s hard work has paid off as the 2013 season reaches mid-August.
Throwing his fourth complete game of the year in the White Sox 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers Monday night in Chicago, Sale’s numbers since the 2013 All-Star break have only improved. In five starts since the Midsummer Classic, he’s posted a 2.35 ERA.
The muscle gained from his offseason program has not only helped the lefty get stronger as the season gets longer it’s allowed him to have an overall more efficient season. Sale’s K/9 ratio is up 0.49 from last year, and his K/BB ratio has also received a boost of 1.00 from 2012.
Sale’s endurance also appears to be improved due to his dedication this winter. He’s averaging 108.6 pitchers per start, which is over five extra pitches per outing from a season ago.
Although it’s certainly an encouraging sign to see Sale remain the ace of the Pale Hose staff as we enter the final months of the regular season, it’s just as important that he’s able to finish the remainder of the second half on a high note. He won’t be pitching for a division title down the stretch this season, however, a solid ending to the year for Sale is a key for the White Sox moving forward.