It has been a long time since Chris Sale was the pitcher the Boston Red Sox had traded for.
He had been a dominant force from 2012 through 2018, an All Star and perennial Cy Young candidate in each of those season. However, he began to struggle in 2019, eventually being sidelined due to Tommy John surgery. Various injuries and rehab meant that Sale pitched just 48.1 innings over the next three seasons, leaving a gaping hole in the Red Sox rotation.
Chris Sale giving Boston Red Sox what they needed
Given all that missed time, it was not a surprise that Sale struggled at the beginning of the year. He had an 8.22 ERA and a 1.739 WHiP over his first five outings covering 23 innings. While the command was not quite there with ten walks and five homers allowed, he did strike out 30 batters and was not allowing much hard contact. There were signs that Sale would be able to turn his season around.
He has done exactly that over his past four outings. Sale is starting to look like the pitcher he once was, posting a 2.30 ERA and a 0.695 WHiP in his 27.1 innings, striking out 32 batters with just three walks. This is the pitcher that the Red Sox had been waiting for.
There are a few questions when it comes to Sale right now. If he can stay healthy, and continue to perform at this rate, he would be the ace the Red Sox need. However, he is also 34 years old and has not been a paragon of health over the past few years. The Red Sox have to hitch their wagon to Sale and hope he is back to being the workhorse of old. If so, the Red Sox could continue to surprise.
Chris Sale has found his dominant form once again. The Boston Red Sox need that to continue as they look to contend in a difficult division.