Before 2018, he was a lock to pitch more than 200 innings, with microscopic ERA finishes.
He will turn 33 soon, so his ceiling is somewhat capped at this point, but he remains an extremely talented hurler.
He has had a rough few years recently, however.
“Since November 2018, Chris Sale has only 190 innings pitched for the Red Sox. His ERA is of 4.12 in that span,” Red Sox Muse tweeted.
Since November 2018, Chris Sale has only 190 innings pitched for the Red Sox. His ERA is of 4.12 in that span. pic.twitter.com/O5lKvfK7wB
— Red Sox Muse (@RedSoxMuse) March 26, 2022
In fact, since the Red Sox’s march to the title in 2018, Sale has had a rough time with injuries.
In 2019, he was limited to 147.1 innings, and had a brutal start to the season that caused his ERA to finish at an uncharacteristically high 4.40.
He kept missing bats, though, as he struck out 13.32 hitters per nine innings.
Tommy John Surgery Took Virtually Two Seasons From Sale
During spring training 2020 (the original one, not the summer camp), Sale and the Red Sox decided he had to undergo Tommy John surgery because he had ligament damage.
As a result, he missed the entire 2020 campaign while rehabbing from the injury.
He encountered some slight setbacks along the way, and his Tommy John rehab took a big portion of his 2021 campaign.
He ended up making nine starts, in which he had a 3.16 ERA but a slightly higher 3.69 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP).
His strikeouts collapsed to 10.97 per nine frames, but it was first season back from surgery: some rust is to be expected.
The 2022 campaign will be the one telling us if his arm is fully back after surgery.
However, this season will also come with a delayed start for Sale.
He was recently diagnosed with a stress fracture on the right side of his rib cage and won’t be ready for the start of the season.
He could miss a few weeks, but at least he’s feeling “much better” and plans to resume throwing next week.
Here is hoping he can pitch a considerable number of innings this season and return to the level that made him one of the most impressive southpaws in the game in the 2010s.