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Why the Red Sox Must be Patient with Chris Sale

Red Sox Chris Sale

After Saturday’s abysmal outing, Boston Red Sox fans wonder whether it is time to consider showing Chris Sale the door seriously. However, Boston Red Sox fans should wait to let that notion enter their mind, especially regarding Chris Sale.

Sale has had it rough over the last four seasons. After helping the team to a World Series championship in 2018, Sale’s third season in Boston is one he would like to forget. While he did strike out 218 batters in 147 and 1/3 innings, he also posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA. Following the 2019 season, Sale had Tommy John surgery. The uncharacteristic like-performance of the 2019 season by Sale may have had Sale and the Red Sox looking for answers, and that’s when they discovered mechanically that something was wrong, thus finding Sale needed Tommy John surgery.

Red Sox Chris Sale Situation

Don’t Think About a Trade, Yet

Sale missed the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic-shortened season, recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 2021, while recovering from Tommy John surgery and after a bout with Covid-19, Sale made nine starts for the Sox, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA and striking out 52 batters in 42 and 2/3 innings. In spring training in 2022, Sale suffered a rib stress fracture while throwing batting practice. Sale was able to make his first start for Boston on July 12. In that start, Sale did not allow any runs, giving up three hits, but got a no-decision. On July 17, Sale again found himself on the disabled list after fracturing his finger when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of New York Yankees‘ Aaron Hicks. Sale did not return to the mound for the Sox the rest of the season.


After all of these injuries and minimal output, why should Red Sox Nation not give up on Chris Sale?Sale is one of the most intimidating competitors in all of sports. He brings an attitude that matches the “to the point” and grittiness of the Boston faithful that support him. He got kicked off the Chicago White Sox because he refused to wear a uniform that limited his biomechanics. Not only did he refuse to wear the jersey, but he also cut it up with a pair of scissors! He also is open to what he thinks is correct.

Rust Plus Jitters Equals a Recipe for Disaster

Sale was amped to be returning to Fenway Park, and it showed. Mix that with the fact that over the last four seasons, Sale has a record of 11-12. That comes after signing a five-year 145-million-dollar contract extension before the 2019 season. Chris Sale is his most prominent critic. Knowing he has not been performing up to the level he expected of himself and that the Red Sox expected of him when he signed that extension is also likely contributing to his early season woes. Now, please consider the rust factor of a pitcher who has pitched less than ten games over the past three seasons, and it is easy to see why Sale had the outing he had Saturday.

He Has the Stats to Prove He Can Be Dominant Once Again

Sale has the stats to prove he can be the dominant pitcher he once was. He’s a seven-time All-Star with a World Series ring , and has led the American League in strikeouts twice. Sale also has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.33 for his career), is the fastest pitcher to 2,000 strikeouts (1,626  innings) all-time, and is tied with Sandy Koufax and Max Scherzer for most immaculate innings pitched (three). To give up on him now would likely come back to haunt the Red Sox. Even if Sale were to join a different team in the AL East eventually.

He Still Has a Lot of Baseball Left in Him

With Rich Hill and Jamie Moyer pitching well into their 40s (While still being effective), there is no reason to assume that Sale cannot do the same. He may not be a starter for the rest of his career, which should not worry Sale. Look at former Red Sox pitcher and commentator Dennis Eckersley, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career for the Oakland Athletics (Among others), as a closer, in the latter half of his career. Additionally, a guy like Chris Sale has a “never give up” attitude. If he never wants to give up, he will continue pitching anywhere he can to return to being the pitcher he once was, a la Daniel Bard.

Key Takeaways

The Red Sox and Sox’s Nation must be patient with Chris Sale. The Boston sports scene is a challenging place to be an athlete. When players do not meet expectations, the fans immediately let them know. One day, an athlete could be deemed a “Boston sports legend.” But, the next day, they can be called a “bum.” That’s just how New England sports fans are, by and large. It’s still early in the season, people need to be patient with Sale before before putting a “for sale” sign on him.

Photo Credit: © Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Players mentioned:

Chris Sale, Aaron Hicks, Sandy KoufaxMax Scherzer, Rich HillJamie Moyer, Dennis Eckersley, Daniel Bard


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