Chris Sale: Better Than The Record Shows


Jun 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher

Chris Sale

(49) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The ace of the Chicago White Sox pitching staff went winless in the month of June.

In six starts, Chris Sale had five losses, but we need to take a little better look at those losses, because let’s be honest with each other … not all of those losses were due to the pitching of the 24-year-old.

Sale is a much better pitcher than his 5-7 record for the season. Last year, Sale finished 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA.

In the month of June, Sale had six starts where the offense just wasn’t behind him. The White Sox scored just 13 runs in those starts, winning just once, a 5-4 win over the New York Mets on June 25 where Sale was left with a no-decision.

Besides the no-decision against the Mets, Sale went 0-5 in the remaining five starts in the month – starts where the Sox lost by scores of 2-0, 4-3, 2-1, 7-4 and 4-0.

This is getting tougher and tougher to watch on almost a daily basis.

No pitcher can win with offense like that, can they? Cy Young himself would need more than 13 runs behind him in six consecutive starts.

Jun 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) talks with catcher

Tyler Flowers

(21) during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the aforementioned six starts, Sale allowed 15 earned runs himself, never more than four in a game, which happened on two occasions in games vs. Oakland and at Minnesota.

The more I type, the more I’m dumbfounded.

In his last two starts, Sale has allowed three earned runs in each of those games. His run support in those two games was a combined five runs, the latest of which was a 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians capping off a horrendous month for the Sox, where they finished 8-19.

Sale’s ERA in June … 3.19. Having an ERA under 4.00 in a month should merit at least one win, but not with this club, this season. His WHIP for this past month was 1.05.

Let me repeat, in a month’s time, a pitcher’s ERA was under four runs, with 53 strikeouts, and he walked fewer than 10 batters in six starts … and said pitcher went 0-5.

The White Sox will enter July with a 32-47 overall record, 10.5 games back of the first-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

If you still don’t believe Sale is about the only thing the White Sox have going for them, look at these stats for the past month: 53 strikeouts, 34 hits and nine walks in 42.1 innings pitched.

Even in his latest loss on Sunday, Sale was perfect through the first three innings with five strikeouts in those innings. Then came the fourth where the Indians gained three of the seven hits Sale allowed, along with two of the three runs. The third run came in the fifth.

That was all he allowed, and his teammates responded by totaling six hits and no runs. In Sale’s last 12 innings pitched, the White Sox have scored zero runs.

The aforementioned stat is self-explanatory.

Sale should give Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds a call … they had eerily similar days Sunday. Latos suffered a loss as he allowed two earned runs with eight hits, two walks and nine strikeouts.

I’m sure others are tired of seeing wasted starts by Sale, due to lackluster offense. His overall season line reads as follows: a 2.79 ERA, 114 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.96.

All Sale has to show for it is five wins and seven losses.

Speaking of strikeouts, Sale is fifth in the AL, and his WHIP (with pitchers having at least 100 innings pitched) is third, trailing just Hisashi Iwakuma (0.88) of Seattle Mariners and Max Scherzer (0.90) of the Detroit Tigers.

In comparison to Iwakuma, the Seattle hurler has a 7-3 record overall (the Mariners are 35-47) with a 1-2 record for June in five starts. In those starts, Seattle was outscored 29-18, but still managed to win twice, with Iwakuma winning once as he had 27 strikeouts and 12 earned runs in that span.

The lack of run support can’t continue to happen each time Sale takes the mound. How can the White Sox expect to win games if they can’t put up offensive numbers when their ace makes a start?

Chicago can’t expect to win when their bats don’t show up for their ace, and they won’t, but that seems to be the current trend of the team this season.

I, for one, hope the trend doesn’t continue the next time Sale attempts to lead the White Sox to a victory, because he deserves better.

Will his South Side teammates start following his lead? Let’s hope so, for Sale’s sake.