By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale is currently in the midst of one of the most dominant stretches in the history of baseball, becoming the first pitcher to make five straight starts with at least 11 strikeouts and one or fewer walk. And in the middle of it all, the lanky left-hander managed to work on his stand-up routine.
Sale sat in the dugout with “Moose,” one of the two NBC Sports Boston photographers who run “The Camera Guys” Twitter account. And with Sale making recent headlines for his patriotic outfit on July 4, it didn’t take long for Moose to steer the conversation toward shirt sleeves. You’ll remember, of course, that Sale caused quite a stir during his days in Chicago, when he took scissors to some alternate jerseys as a protest against wearing them.
Sale took the conversation in stride.
“If you need help, I can help. I got ya,” Sale said when Moose said he might cut his own sleeves. “I’m pretty good at jersey alterations, and shirts and stuff like that.”
It was obviously a light moment, but the comedy routine has not spilled over to his pitching days. When it’s Sale’s turn in the rotation, he’s been absolutely lights out for over a month.
Sale on Wednesday capped off his first half with a 12-strikeout performance, pitching seven shutout innings against the Rangers and picking up his 10th win of the year.
Over his past seven starts, he’s dropped his ERA by more than three-quarters of a run, from 3.00 after his June 1 start to 2.23 ERA after Wednesday’s game. In that seven game stretch, he’s allowed just five total runs over 48 innings, sporting a 0.94 ERA and a .771 OPS. He’s struck out 78 batters and walked just 10. He’s 5-1 in those starts, though the Red Sox have gone 5-2.
And he’s gotten better as that stretch has gone on. In just his last four starts, he’s allowed exactly one run in 27 innings pitched, good for a comical 0.33 ERA. He’s struck out 48 batters and walked just four, compiling a WHIP of 0.741.
Sale will be making his seventh straight All-Star appearance next week, which is a nice accolade for the 29-year-old. But given how dominant Sale has been for the past month, the Red Sox are probably wishing there was no All-Star break, so they could keep rolling Sale out to the mound every fifth day.
With that self-depreciative knock about jersey cutting, Chris Sale is one of the few people capable of registering a hit against Chris Sale these days.