When Do You Want to See Chris Sale Pitch Again?

How should the Red Sox pitch Chris Sale in the rest of the ALDS?

  • Start potential Game 5

    Votes: 99 42.3%
  • High-leverage relief

    Votes: 53 22.6%
  • Low-leverage relief

    Votes: 52 22.2%
  • Shouldn't pitch

    Votes: 30 12.8%

  • Total voters
    234
  • Poll closed .

Pedro's Complaint

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Per Alex Speier: "Sale had a 2.25 ERA in his first 40 innings for the Red Sox, heading into the 6th inning of his eighth start against the Orioles. Since then (6th inning vs Orioles on 9/28, Washington start, tonight): 3 2/3 innings, 10 runs."

Edit: Mods, please move thread to Red Sox Forum. Thank you.
 
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Philip Jeff Frye

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Hard to imagine the Sox winning a championship getting nothing from Sale (and Rodriguez too). I think you got to put him out there and hope he figures out whatever the problem is. He might get shelled again, but we're going to get knocked out at some point if we have to keep piecing together bullpen games.
 

canderson

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Couldn’t this likely be a dead arm period for him?

He has had absolutely nothing in his last3 games. A health Safe in 2022 > whatever version this one is. I vote to sit him until next season.
 

Archer1979

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He's not injured per se. He's just not fully recovered from the TJ surgery. He's obviously hit a wall in terms of his recovery and would greatly benefit from starting the off-season conditioning program now (but he obviously doesn't have that luxury at this point).

Most likely, he's the Game Five starter but with a very short leash (perhaps shorter than last night). Best case, his recent short outings gives him a little more rest and he gives you four / five quality innings.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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As long as theres no injury issue, you roll him out ASAP. The team doesnt get far in the playoffs without him. Roll him out, hope he finds it. Gotta roll out the roster with the highest potential.
 

JimD

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I voted 'high-leverage relief', because, really, there are no more 'low-leverage' innings left this season. Start Houck in game 5 and only use Sale in that game if absolutely necessary. See if you can hold him out until the ALCS if we make it that far.
 

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I do wonder if his stuff would play up a little from the bullpen. If he knew he wasn’t going more than 2 or 3, he might pitch a bit more freely. I just think it’s impossible for him to adopt that mindset while starting, given how long he’s been starting.

If they actually get to a game 5, I think I’d try someone else as an opener, and have him as first or second out of the pen.
 

lexrageorge

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His ERA in the post-season was over 7 before he pitched last night. He does not inspire confidence, at all. Better win games 3 and 4 @ Fenway.
Most of that inflated ERA was due to him getting rocked (3 home runs) by the Trash Cans in the opening start of the 2017 ALDS. Remember that Farrell let him throw 111 pitches in a meaningless game a couple of weeks prior, despite having missed a couple of starts with "shoulder fatigue".

His playoff record consists of 2 solid starts where Cora kept him on a very short leash (2018 ALDS and WS), 2 OK-to-mediocre starts (elimination game against Houston in 2017 that the Sox weren't winning anyway, and the one loss to Houston in 2018 ALCS), 2 horrific starts (including Thursday), and 2 dominant relief appearances.

David Price was awful in the playoffs throughout his career, even in the 2018 ALDS, and then arguably could have won MVP of the 2018 World Series. Past success/failure in playoff starts is useless when it comes to predictive value.

I'm more concerned about the fact that Sale is coming off TJ surgery and could be reaching a natural pitch limit. So I voted high-leverage relief appearance.
 
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Pedro's Complaint

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I voted 'high-leverage relief', because, really, there are no more 'low-leverage' innings left this season. Start Houck in game 5 and only use Sale in that game if absolutely necessary. See if you can hold him out until the ALCS if we make it that far.
This is pretty much where I am. I'd go ERod with Pivetta as long man in G4, Houck with all hands on deck in G5. For the rest of this series, treat Sale like Barnes.
 

Archer1979

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For those of you say relief, do you think his arm would be able to get warm quick enough to be a viable option out of the bullpen?
 

joe dokes

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When his turn come up. It seems as though Pivetta and Houck are now Erod and Sale insurance.I can live with that arrangement.
 

tims4wins

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I voted high lev relief as well, with the thinking that he could pitch in either game 3 or 4 and still be able to start game 5.

That said, Cora seemed pretty clear he won't play it that way, so I don't expect to see him in the pen this weekend.
 

benhogan

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start Sale in a Game 5

BUT a short leash with Houck backing him up against an RHH Tampa lineup

same with ERod/Pivetta, maybe use Tampa's heavy L/R line-up against them by using ERod/Sale as "short leash starters"
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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For those of you say relief, do you think his arm would be able to get warm quick enough to be a viable option out of the bullpen?
I think you have bingo here. Cora's already said before Game 1 that it would take exactly the right situation to use Sale in relief, while ERod, Pivetta, and even Eovaldi could see bullpen work. I think Sale continues to start when it's his turn, but with a short leash and Houck or another starter ready to follow him.

Ideally, he's the game 1 starter in the ALCS so they have a couple extra days for him to rest and to have everyone else lined up with enough rest. More likely, he's starting Wednesday in Game 5.
 

tims4wins

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I think you have bingo here. Cora's already said before Game 1 that it would take exactly the right situation to use Sale in relief, while ERod, Pivetta, and even Eovaldi could see bullpen work. I think Sale continues to start when it's his turn, but with a short leash and Houck or another starter ready to follow him.

Ideally, he's the game 1 starter in the ALCS so they have a couple extra days for him to rest and to have everyone else lined up with enough rest. More likely, he's starting Wednesday in Game 5.
Could the "perfect" situation arise in game 3? He threw what, 33 pitches last night? Day off today, and then an inning tomorrow if necessary? And then he could still start game 5 with 2 more days' rest?
 

Ale Xander

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More likely is Game 4 as we don’t really have a starter at this point (as of last night) and our best one is starting Game 3.
Make Game 5 bullpen game?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Could the "perfect" situation arise in game 3? He threw what, 33 pitches last night? Day off today, and then an inning tomorrow if necessary? And then he could still start game 5 with 2 more days' rest?
Depends on the definition of perfect, no? The impression I got when Cora said that (and I'm paraphrasing so he may not have said the word "perfect') was they were going to avoid Sale in relief unless absolutely necessary. Like extra innings and the bullpen is getting thin, Sale might get into a fresh inning after getting a full starter-length warm-up first.
 

tims4wins

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Depends on the definition of perfect, no? The impression I got when Cora said that (and I'm paraphrasing so he may not have said the word "perfect') was they were going to avoid Sale in relief unless absolutely necessary. Like extra innings and the bullpen is getting thin, Sale might get into a fresh inning after getting a full starter-length warm-up first.
Got it - wasn't sure if Cora was saying it was more about lining up Sale correctly vs. importance of the game (so game 3 is relatively unimportant vs. an elimination game or whatever)
 

TFisNEXT

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I think you hope he comes out of whatever is hampering him (whether it’s dead arm or maybe something a little off with mechanics) and he starts game 5. Very short leash obviously. Trust that Cora will know pretty quickly whether he has it or not.

But I think you have to at least see if he does because if Sale “has it”, then he could give you ~5 huge innings.
 

amRadio

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Coming back from TJ - possibly in a dead arm period - I can't see them rolling the dice on his future health for this playoff run. Wouldn't asking him to warm up as a reliever mid-game and be available on any given night be a risk?

I would be nervous about a role change but I say start him as long as he's healthy.
 

YTF

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If you take him off the roster in this series, he's ineligible for the ALCS (as Richards is).
Richards being out really makes the Sale decision more difficult. It might otherwise be easy to say Sale in game 5 (if needed) with Richards or Houck ready to back him up. Of course depending how games 3 and 4 play out there is no guarantee as to what they might be able to provide and now with Richards being out further it complicates things.
 

bankshot1

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If he's healthy, and there is no risk to him, Sale gets the start. It may just be dead-arm syndrome coming at the end of the season. BUT given his recent problems, and the importance of every game now, a contingency plan to have a dedicated long-term reliever ready to pitch 3-4-5 innings just in case Sale blows up in the 1st of 2nd, has to be readied. Maybe Pivetta or ERod becomes a part of that contigency plan. I may hold out Houck for this role. The loss of Richards complicates things but given the off days maybe they can shorten the rotation and cross their fingers with what seems to be a reworked BP line-up..
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I think Sale continues to start when it's his turn, but with a short leash and Houck or another starter ready to follow him.
I think you have bingo here. Treat Sale like an opener. Tell him all that the Red Sox need is 2-3 innings.

Too much uncertainty with the bullpen. Have him start; see what he has; and be prepared to move on if his arm is still dead, which should be apparent pretty quickly.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think you have bingo here. Treat Sale like an opener. Tell him all that the Red Sox need is 2-3 innings.

Too much uncertainty with the bullpen. Have him start; see what he has; and be prepared to move on if his arm is still dead, which should be apparent pretty quickly.
I don't know if I quite treat him like an opener, or at least I don't tell him that's the plan if I do. I want him as close to his normal frame of mind as possible when he's on the mound and deal with his anger later if he has to come out before he wants to. The ideal with him, whether it's Game 5 or Game 1 of the next series, is you plan for him to go 2-3 but hope for him to go 5-6. If he only gives you 2-3, you follow him with Houck who gets you to the seventh or eighth. If he gives you 5-6, you follow him with Houck and hopefully don't need anyone else to close out a win.
 

pk1627

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I’m hoping there’s no need for a game 5. Get it done Theo.

If there is, I trust playoff Cora. Personally I’d shut down Sale after this ALDS. He’s throwing BP every game now. But Cora knows a lot more than I.
 

BaseballJones

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Without Richards, I'd think that Perez is keeping sharp (well, for Perez) in case they make the ALCS. He might be needed.
 

cornwalls@6

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I think you roll him out again for game 5, on an equally short leash. For better or worse, unless he's injured again, he's going to play a big role for however long their run lasts.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Without Richards, I'd think that Perez is keeping sharp (well, for Perez) in case they make the ALCS. He might be needed.
For those suggesting Sale be shut down, that leaves them short a starter/long man and BJ points out the only alternative left. Do we think Martin Perez gives them a better chance than Chris Sale going forward? If not, then Sale has to keep pitching unless there's a medical reason for him not to.
 

chrisfont9

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start Sale in a Game 5

BUT a short leash with Houck backing him up against an RHH Tampa lineup

same with ERod/Pivetta, maybe use Tampa's heavy L/R line-up against them by using ERod/Sale as "short leash starters"
Any thought to using an opener? Tampa lineup is rather top-heavy. Maybe if you skim off one AB from Arozarena and Franco you put Sale in a better position. Personally I would just give his start to Tanner, but if you want to hold Houck for middle innings, this is one way to ease Sale in. Brasier seems like he is up for a high lev inning at any moment.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Not sure where else to put this, but Rob Friedman has been all over Houck's slider this season - often one of my favorite follows for exactly this reason - and put up this short video after yesterday's game. Issues three times through the order or not, his stuff is electric.

View: https://youtu.be/MYyOjo9yoeg
 

benhogan

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Any thought to using an opener? Tampa lineup is rather top-heavy. Maybe if you skim off one AB from Arozarena and Franco you put Sale in a better position. Personally I would just give his start to Tanner, but if you want to hold Houck for middle innings, this is one way to ease Sale in. Brasier seems like he is up for a high lev inning at any moment.
Starting Sale, at the very least, baits Tampa into going heavy RHH line up. He almost becomes a high-end "starter", which sets up Houck for success. If you get 2-3 solid innings from Sales and ~4 innings from Houck the Sox have a puncher's chance.

It's a shame that Sale isn't quite back yet, expect he'll pitch better next year after offseason rest.

I'm riding Houck as much as possible right now, we've seen young pitchers get hot in the playoffs before. You set him up for the most favorable pitching match-ups as possible. That means bringing him in from the pen, after an LH starter.

If Sale is busted then Perez becomes your defacto "starter" w/Houck carrying the load
 
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Archer1979

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Any thought to using an opener? Tampa lineup is rather top-heavy. Maybe if you skim off one AB from Arozarena and Franco you put Sale in a better position. Personally I would just give his start to Tanner, but if you want to hold Houck for middle innings, this is one way to ease Sale in. Brasier seems like he is up for a high lev inning at any moment.
Well... this becomes a really good question if Sale can't go. How many guys on the staff do you trust to give starter-quality innings? You've got these five (Eovaldi, Pivetta, EdRo, Perez, Houck.), but every one of them is going to have a quicker than regular season hook if they run into trouble to be backed up by someone else on the list.

While it may not technically be an opener-type game, how quickly they get pulled essentially makes it an opener-type game.

Playoff-Cora puts these together like jigsaw puzzles.
 

RedOctober3829

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It would be a disservice to him to put Sale in relief. Coming off of TJ surgery, that's the last thing Sale needs to be doing is getting hot in a short period of time. He either starts Game 5 or doesn't pitch at all. I'd have a plan of piggy backing Sale with Houck again.
 

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The way I look at it - the lowest leverage innings available are for a starter. Forget all that "set the tone" stuff. A starter blowing up at least gives the offense 6-7 innings to recover. Start Sale game 5, unless he's actually injured.

How come no one's talking about who starts Game 4?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The way I look at it - the lowest leverage innings available are for a starter. Forget all that "set the tone" stuff. A starter blowing up at least gives the offense 6-7 innings to recover. Start Sale game 5, unless he's actually injured.

How come no one's talking about who starts Game 4?
Because it pretty much has to be ERod. He threw 41 pitches on Thursday. Pivetta threw 73. What you hope for is to use both of them with the pitch counts (and innings distribution) reversed, then some combination of relievers to get the final nine outs.
 

E5 Yaz

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Because it pretty much has to be ERod. He threw 41 pitches on Thursday. Pivetta threw 73. What you hope for is to use both of them with the pitch counts (and innings distribution) reversed, then some combination of relievers to get the final nine outs.
This is just off the top of my head, but might there be more value in starting Pivetta?

The dominant arms in the Red Sox bullpen are right-handers. Starting Pivetta could influence the Rays to start their lefty hitters. Then, if ERod is available for mid-game, the Rays pinch-hit and bring in their RH bats. Doing ERod then Pivetta brings the lefty hitters into the game to face the Sox bullpen.

Just a thought ... probably over-thinking it
 

nvalvo

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I voted start, but it really depends on his change up. He threw zero of them yesterday against a RHH heavy lineup.

Seems like he doesn’t have the feel back yet, but he needs a third pitch, something off speed, against righties, or else they’ll spit on the slider and crush the fastball. Even a bad change up would have helped.

I would use him like an opener in a game five to try to get Cash to put out the righty heavy lineup, see how he looks, and then switch to Houck. Unless the change up is back, though, Sale shouldn’t face the top of the Rays order twice as a two pitch pitcher.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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This is just off the top of my head, but might there be more value in starting Pivetta?

The dominant arms in the Red Sox bullpen are right-handers. Starting Pivetta could influence the Rays to start their lefty hitters. Then, if ERod is available for mid-game, the Rays pinch-hit and bring in their RH bats. Doing ERod then Pivetta brings the lefty hitters into the game to face the Sox bullpen.

Just a thought ... probably over-thinking it
Yeah, probably overthinking. The Rays had their R bats in to start the game yesterday, but other than replacing Luplow with Choi, they didn't go to any of their other LHH guys until (too) late. Really, same for Thursday with ERod/Pivetta. I'm not sure Cash can be trapped into substituting too early and having a relatively empty bench.