White Sox Continue to Waste Sale’s Greatness

Chris SaleChris Sale is one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. Heck, you can even make a strong argument that he is the best. Since the Chicago White Sox drafted the left-handed flamethrower in 2010, they have done nothing but come up short of playoff contention while Sale has done nothing but impress.

Sale made his Major League debut on August 6, 2010. Since that date, the Sox have won 363 games and lost 420. Yes, that is 57 games under .500 over about a five-year span.

One of the reasons that Chris Sale’s name isn’t yet in the same category as the Clayton Kershaws and the Max Scherzers is because Sale has only been on a winning team once in his six-year career. Obviously, the Sox ineptitude in that span should not be attributed to Sale’s pitching. He currently holds a 51-33 career record with a 2.77 ERA.

It today’s baseball, it is hard to judge a pitcher off of wins and losses because those are statistics that rely heavily on aspects of the game that are out of the starting pitcher’s contol- like run support and bullpen quality. ERA, however, has proven to be a much more genuine statistic in today’s game.

As mentioned above, Sale has a 2.77 career ERA. Granted, overall hitting numbers have been down over recent years, and the steroid era is now a thing of the past. The fact remains, however, that Sale has such a low ERA despite pitching in the American League with half of his appearances coming at the hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. That, my friends, is simply remarkable. Sale’s career ERA is so good, in fact, that he is one of just two active pitchers with 500 innings pitched who have a career ERA under 3.00.

In case some of you haven’t been following White Sox baseball this year, (understandable) Sale’s greatness has recently emerged to an even greater level. In addition to his uncanny ability to prevent runners from safely touching home plate, he is also striking out hitters at a historical rate. Over his last 11 starts, he has struck out 121 batters. Sale tied two Major League records during that span, becoming the 2nd pitcher in history to strike out 12 or more batters in 5 consecutive starts, and also to strike out 10 or more batters in 8 consecutive starts.

At age 26, Sale still has plenty years of dominance remaining. But will those years be spent wearing a White Sox uniform? This franchise appears to be going nowhere fast, and you have to begin to wonder if the front office has begun considering trade possibilities for the star pitcher. Granted, this season is only half way over; and there is a lot of talent waiting to show its face on the team’s roster.

But there is an old adage in sports that could be beginning to haunt White Sox fans. “If you can come in last place with someone, you can also come in last place without someone.” I hate to say it, but the Sox are in last place with Chris Sale. Are his days numbered in Chicago?