There may be some fans out there who see Chris Sale as “pretty good” and some even who point to his 6-8 record as a reason to explore trading him. To that I say while you have the right to your own opinion, please put down the Jack Daniels or whatever alcohol you have blurring your vision.
The White Sox Chris Sale put together a beautiful performance last night at Citi Field during the 2013 MLB All-Star game. His performance was deserving of MVP consideration for embarrassing some of the best hitters in baseball on his way to two scoreless (perfect) innings and the win. He finished with the game’s highest WPA (win probability added), thus did more than anybody else to push his team toward victory. He was a star amongst stars.
He was robbed of that honor because baseball decided to make last night all about honoring Mariano Rivera. Now do not get me wrong, this was goosebump worthy and a well deserving demonstration to the greatest closer of all-time, but lets be honest, he did not earn the MVP rather he received it as a parting gift for the tremendous career he has had.
Chris Sale, ever the professional, had nothing but admiration for Big Mo after the game:
“There’s no other MVP in this clubhouse, in this stadium than him,” Sale said. “I really think that’s enough said. He stole the show. Watching him was probably the coolest sports experience I’ve ever had. It was awesome. I’m somewhat speechless.” [...]
“I didn’t skip a beat,” he said. “I stayed out there in my full uni. The one thing I was anticipating was watching him pitch. What a moment.”
As the White Sox lone participant (Jesse Crain out with injury), Sale showed that he is the future of this organization and what they need to build around. Do not look at win/loss records, rather look at the lack of run support he receives. Look at his 2.85 ERA and 131 strikeouts compared to just 27 walks. More than anything, he is a gamer and loves to take the ball in big games.
Most of America probably did not watch the game or at least all of it, but what Sale did to Carlos Gonzalez deserves a lot more recognition than it got! The Rockies outfielder, who happens to be the National League leader in OPS, simply had zero chance against either of the sliders he saw during his four-pitch strikeout last night.
These amazing GIFs illustrate just how nasty Sale’s slider can be when he has it working at full bore (credit – southsidesox.com for their work below):
Freeze (the bat and ball blend into their background, so I’ve highlighted both):
And here’s the second for the strikeout:
And if you want to see what that looks like on Brooks:
Sale probably wasn’t a popular figure in Denver, as he also struck out Troy Tulowitzki with a beautiful backfoot slider in the third inning:
There was one ball hit hard off him, Bryce Harper roped a liner right to Miguel Cabrera which ended Sale’s night. Other than that he was filthy and continues to be the lone bright spot in a dismal season for the South Siders. He now has two All-Star appearances and three scoreless innings to his name. #DudesNasty