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 .

Harry Hooper

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2002
30,507
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.
Choi has never faced Eduardo. We'd probably see that matchup happen if Eduardo followed Pivetta in Gane 4. DIaz has posted some numbers off Eduardo, but maybe it's Eduardo vs. Wendle instead if Pivetta starts. The big unknown is how ready to thrive Taylor really is at this point for a late-game matchup.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
19,353
Rogers Park
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.
I like this idea. I might start Brasier with the aim of getting the first pass through the top of the order, then go to Sale for two to four innings, then to Houck, and then see where things stand.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
15,449
Maine
I voted for low-leverage relief, with the idea that he’s going to start a clean inning on his throw day; it would basically be scheduled, so he should have no problem getting ready.
I'm wondering what qualifies as low-leverage relief in a playoff game. Is it a blow-out of 5-6+ runs in either direction or essentially, Matt Barnes' role last night?
 

Wallball Tingle

union soap
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
2,259
Short leash starter. Like...if he gives up three baserunners in the first (via walk or hard contact), he gone.
 

Coachster

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 3, 2009
7,217
New Hampshire
It's crazy there is even a debate about this. Have you watched his last 3 starts? He has nothing. He's not going to suddenly sprout wings and fly us to the promised land.
 

cantor44

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 23, 2020
1,292
Chicago, IL
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
I second this ...
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
15,449
Maine
That sounds great, but in reality you'd have to have a guy throwing in the pen as Sale is facing the lead off hitter. Not saying it can't happen, but I doubt Cora goes that route.
Yeah. What we saw last night is how it's going to go with another Sale start. He'll be given a minimum of 6-7 batters if he gets in trouble out of the gate. I mean, unless he's meekly tossing BP-grade meatballs, he should be given a chance to pitch out of a first inning jam. We've seen the Sox can come back from a 3-4 run deficit. You just don't let it get worse than that while Sale's still on the mound. Frankly, that should go for any starter they run out there, Eovaldi included.
 

ifmanis5

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2007
51,164
Rotten Apple
It's crazy there is even a debate about this. Have you watched his last 3 starts? He has nothing. He's not going to suddenly sprout wings and fly us to the promised land.
This is also me. I voted shouldn't. He wasting a roster spot right now. He needs more time off and honestly I'm not expecting much more from him in the future.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
19,353
Rogers Park
It's crazy there is even a debate about this. Have you watched his last 3 starts? He has nothing. He's not going to suddenly sprout wings and fly us to the promised land.
This is also me. I voted shouldn't. He wasting a roster spot right now. He needs more time off and honestly I'm not expecting much more from him in the future.
I think some people need to look through the data. He doesn't have nothing.
  • He has a fastball that is a bit slower than it was pre-surgery, but still gets swinging strikes ~30% of the time people swing. (~25% against RHH.)
  • He also has a slider that isn't quite as nasty as it once was, but still gets swinging strikes on that ~35% of the time. (~28% against RHH.)
This is post-surgery Sale! The problem is that he has shelved his changeup, which is a huge ingredient of his approach against righties. He's basically the same as pre-injury Sale against lefties, but righties have been destroying him, especially after they see him a second time.

Cora mentioned this just the other day.

Sale pitched just 2.1 innings against the Nationals on Sunday as he struggled with his command. Per Cora, Sale’s issues were predictable — his changeup still isn’t entirely back — a common problem for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery.

“I was just telling him we were so excited about the changeup because supposedly when you come out of this process, whatever that’s the last pitch you get because of how you have to manipulate the pitch,” Cora said. “He’s not there yet. … The slider is good, the fastball is good, but that’s a pitch that the feel is not there yet. He’ll keep working on it, and hopefully he has a chance to start again here in October, and he’ll give us a chance to win.”
I know I've been harping on this in multiple threads, but I have watched his last three starts, and I've seen him throw fewer and fewer changeups, including zero in ALDS game 2.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
2,303
He’s had three bad outings in a row, the first of which wasn’t terrible. It happens. It’s happened to every pitcher on the staff. I’d start him when his time comes around. Short leash and all with the playoffs but a few bad outings isn’t a reason to give up on a guy, especially not a guy as good as Sale.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
15,887
Miami (oh, Miami!)
He’s had three bad outings in a row, the first of which wasn’t terrible. It happens. It’s happened to every pitcher on the staff. I’d start him when his time comes around. Short leash and all with the playoffs but a few bad outings isn’t a reason to give up on a guy, especially not a guy as good as Sale.
I'd seriously consider using a different catcher.
 

Harry Hooper

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2002
30,507
It's an interesting question if it turns out Cora has the choice of Sale vs. Houck as the starter in Game 5. Is there more pressure on Houck to start the game or if he is called in with no margin for error after the Rays put 4 or 5 runs on the board vs. Sale?

I expect to see Sale get the start, but I'd prefer he get his next start in the ALCS.
 

ricopetro6

lurker
Oct 25, 2013
1,903
Don't understand people saying start Sale with Houk in relief. You can't just give away 2-3 runs in the 1st inning or 2 and then expect Houk to give up zero runs in a deciding game 5 on the road..especially against someone who shut you down last time. You start your best pitcher available.
 

OCD SS

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I'm wondering what qualifies as low-leverage relief in a playoff game. Is it a blow-out of 5-6+ runs in either direction or essentially, Matt Barnes' role last night?
Sure, the point of “no low-leverage innings” is taken, but starting a clean inning in a predetermined section of the order should be manageable. Having him in game action seems necessary to see if you trust him with a start or need to optimize his innings.
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

has big, douchey shoulders
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Don't understand people saying start Sale with Houk in relief. You can't just give away 2-3 runs in the 1st inning or 2 and then expect Houk to give up zero runs in a deciding game 5 on the road..especially against someone who shut you down last time. You start your best pitcher available.
Can you at least try to spell the dude's name right? It isn't Ralph Houk. He's dead. The player's name is Tanner Houck.
 

voidfunkt

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 14, 2006
699
/dev/null
Im warm to the idea of starting Sale, hoping for a good outing but forcing a righty-heavy lineup that Houck could beat up (hopefully).

Or just start Houck.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2007
3,688
He’s Chris Sale. You start him. I’m hoping for 3 innings of 2runs allowed. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he pitched 6 innings of 10 K, 1BB , 3H, 1ER too.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 24, 2007
516
Pittsboro NC
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
I like your thinking.
I'd also start Pivetta for Game 4, mostly because I think he's the better bet to keep runs off the board early. I'd rather not be behind before even getting to bat. But I'd be expecting a short outing since he threw 73 pitches Thursday, so Monday would only be three days rest. Tell him he's got one trip through the line-up, look to get three strong innings from him, hope to grab a lead, then bring in relievers -- possibly including ERod and Sale -- as the situation dictates. What happens in Game 3 plays a huge role in what you do in Game 4. Not worth thinking too much about it until that dust settles.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2006
6,766
SS Botany Bay
Show him the video of Pedro from 1999 ALDS Game 5, give him Plawecki, analyze Sale's pitch selections from Game 2 and instruct him to do the opposite as the Game 5 starter. Be ready to pull him before he digs a deep hole. Best case scenario, let him go through the order twice, because unless he's throwing all his pitches effectively, they will tee on off him no later than their third time through.
 

dynomite

Member
SoSH Member
Does this mean Sale is done as a starter this Series? He’s available in relief today. Hard to imagine him starting Game 5 if he pitches today/tomorrow.

View: https://twitter.com/ianmbrowne/status/1447222351934930950?s=21


There was no “shorter leash” than Game 2 and I’m betting they reviewed the tape and watched his bullpen session and felt he had a better chance of being effective in 1-2 IP at max effort in relief. Let’s hope they’re right!
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
19,353
Rogers Park
Does this mean Sale is done as a starter this Series? He’s available in relief today. Hard to imagine him starting Game 5 if he pitches today/tomorrow.

View: https://twitter.com/ianmbrowne/status/1447222351934930950?s=21


There was no “shorter leash” than Game 2 and I’m betting they reviewed the tape and watched his bullpen session and felt he had a better chance of being effective in 1-2 IP at max effort in relief. Let’s hope they’re right!
Plus, even without his full repertoire, Sale has held lefties to like a .300 OPS this season. There could be a spot where that would be really useful, even with the 3-batter rule. Say, two outs, late innings, close game, Brasier or Ottavino is facing the top of the order. You could warm Sale behind Brasier so that if Arozarena or Franco reaches, you can bring in Sale to attack Lowe — maybe you have to IBB someone.
 

pjheff

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2003
883
Does this mean Sale is done as a starter this Series? He’s available in relief today. Hard to imagine him starting Game 5 if he pitches today/tomorrow.
I believe that he said that Game 4 starter Nick Pivetta is potentially available today too. My translation is that Cora will use whoever he has to in order to win today before figuring out Games 4 and 5.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
15,449
Maine
I believe that he said that Game 4 starter Nick Pivetta is potentially available today too. My translation is that Cora will use whoever he has to in order to win today before figuring out Games 4 and 5.
Yes. It's a win today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow approach. It's arguably the only way to go with this team if they want to advance. And I think amRadio is also correct that it's an indication they feel more secure about Sale's health.
 

donutogre

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,585
Philadelphia
I voted for "high leverage relief" -- as in, if there's a relief situation he can be useful for tonight, use him. Otherwise, game 5. I definitely get the concern about running him out there, but that awful game was just one game. I also know that in his 26 playoff innings, he has not been very good. In hundreds of other innings, he has been very good. I'm inclined to trust the larger sample, even though I also get that he is coming back from a serious injury and surgery. Basically, if he can pitch like he did in the regular season this year, he's a valuable pitcher who needs to be out there.

Remember how David Price had two pretty awful outings at the top of the 2018 postseason, re-opening the debate about whether he was a total goat in the playoffs? Remember what happened after that?
 

mfried

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 23, 2005
1,661
I liked his velocity. Command seemed affected by nervousness. Should play in late innings with no one on base. I call that high leverage relief.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

posts 18% useful shit
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2010
12,286
I liked his velocity. Command seemed affected by nervousness. Should play in late innings with no one on base. I call that high leverage relief.
There was a few pitches where command was an issue, but it felt like his night went south because of a lack of confidence. He was going after the lefties hard, and for the most part it worked. But against righties, he was nibbling outside or throwing pitches so far down or in they werent fooling anyone. He either doesnt trust his stuff, or is afraid of the lineup. Given his recent outings, I'd guess it's the former.
 

Archer1979

shazowies
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
5,371
Right Here
There was a few pitches where command was an issue, but it felt like his night went south because of a lack of confidence. He was going after the lefties hard, and for the most part it worked. But against righties, he was nibbling outside or throwing pitches so far down or in they werent fooling anyone. He either doesnt trust his stuff, or is afraid of the lineup. Given his recent outings, I'd guess it's the former.
That strike zone last night didn't really help things either. He got some gift strikes, but when he went back to those spots (out and up), the strikes weren't there. The ump was also calling very high strikes which was probably a part of the zone that Sale didn't want to start putting his pitches.
 

bankshot1

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 12, 2003
21,777
where I was last at
Until Sale finds his change-up and has the confidence to throw it, he's a 2-pitch relief pitcher (with the threat of a 3rd pitch ) probably best suited for 1-2 innings. But those outs may be important in the bigger picture of winning a series. He's got to pitch to find his confidence and swagger.
 

geoduck no quahog

not particularly consistent
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Nov 8, 2002
12,885
Seattle, WA
There’s never been discussion about Sale and spider tack. His being on IL meant there was no opportunity for controversy. I’m not making any accusation (that would be stupid), but it is a possibility. I’ll agree that post operative issues are a much better explanation.
 

scottyno

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2008
8,874
There’s never been discussion about Sale and spider tack. His being on IL meant there was no opportunity for controversy. I’m not making any accusation (that would be stupid), but it is a possibility. I’ll agree that post operative issues are a much better explanation.
Probably because for his first 8 starts back he was good, so unless he stopped using something before his last 3 appearances there isn't anything there
 

mfried

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 23, 2005
1,661
SOSH notwithstanding, Chris Sale will start a game in the home stand, probably Wednesday.
 

OCD SS

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I have only been listening, but it sure seemed that he was victimized by a small zone according to Sox radio. Even if the difference between him starting and opening is a matter of results, he’ll still take the ball. The bottom line is both teams are thin on aces and we have to take innings where we can find them.
 

InsideTheParker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
32,527
Pioneer Valley
I have only been listening, but it sure seemed that he was victimized by a small zone according to Sox radio. Even if the difference between him starting and opening is a matter of results, he’ll still take the ball. The bottom line is both teams are thin on aces and we have to take innings where we can find them.
I actually don't like Sale much at this point, but to the naked eye it looked as though Doug Edding was squeezing the hell out of him. Unfortunately, Sale scowled (or worse) at him early in the outing, which is not a good look.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
19,353
Rogers Park
There’s never been discussion about Sale and spider tack. His being on IL meant there was no opportunity for controversy. I’m not making any accusation (that would be stupid), but it is a possibility. I’ll agree that post operative issues are a much better explanation.
Weird take. Did you do any of the things one would do to follow up on this before posting the suggestion in public?

Sale's average RPMs are down a tick — 2383 to 2288 on the four-seam — but that's not a huge drop, nor is it unambiguously due to grip considering his velo is also down a tick. The number we want is the RPMs/MPH, the so-called Bauer Units. And those are steady. (For contrast, Gerrit Cole lost ~200 RPM before and after the enforcement change.)

It's likely that Sale used something for grip that is now illegal, just because most pitchers seem to have done so.
 

Manuel Aristides

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 7, 2009
102
I actually don't like Sale much at this point, but to the naked eye it looked as though Doug Edding was squeezing the hell out of him. Unfortunately, Sale scowled (or worse) at him early in the outing, which is not a good look.
Agreed. Sale was struggling but he had at least 10 pitches in or near the black that a friendlier umpire gives him, and frankly they're calls Sale is used to getting. He's not himself (and it sounds like we agree that we're not sure he ever will be again), but a friendlier plate ump could have made that start viable.
 

The_Dali

lurker
Jul 2, 2021
21
I think you continue to roll him out unless there is an injury or risk of injury. Back him up with Houck or Pivetta and roll on. This offense is gonna make it tough on every pitcher regardless.