There’s a little bit of skepticism surrounding Chris Sale, and it’s not totally unwarranted.
The Boston Red Sox ace logged a considerable amount of time on the disabled list in the final two months of the regular season due to shoulder inflammation, and his velocity was way down in his last outing.
With roughly a week-and-a-half between his last start of the regular season and his scheduled outing Friday in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, many are left to simply wonder (and hope) if Sale will return to his usual dominant self for the postseason.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, for one, believes the left-hander is totally healthy and will be just fine. During his media availability Tuesday, he explained why.
“Just talking to him, I mentioned it on Sunday or Saturday, with him you tell him two innings, 40 pitches and his thought process is two innings, 40 pitches,” Cora said, via WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “He forgets about his mechanics and he wants to get to his repetitions. The same thing with the 4 innings and 60, and the six innings and 100. The fact that when the game was on the line in that last one and he hit 94 a few times, it wasn’t 99 but he went from 88-89 to 94, I know it’s there. The fact that he came to me right away after the game was over and he felt it on the mound and he saw it on the video I’m like, ‘OK, this is mechanics.’ He’s been going through his progress the right way. It’s nothing compared to what it was the first time he went on the DL and the days after Baltimore, so that’s why I’m 100 percent sure he’s healthy and he’s going to be fine.”
If the Red Sox have any intention of making a deep postseason run, they’ll need Sale at full health. He almost exclusively is lights out when he has all of his strength, and he’ll need to be in peak form regardless of who Boston faces in the ALDS.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images