The Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball right now, and it’s not particularly close. Sunday afternoon, their best pitcher — Chris Sale — made his first start since the DL stint. Sure they were taking on the Baltimore Orioles, but Sale struck out 12… through five innings of work. Boston didn’t want to be too risky with their returning ace, so they pulled him after just 68 pitches. 48 of said pitches with for strikes; that is just an incredibly, almost unbelievably efficient outing.
Now the Red Sox are 85-35, putting them 9.5 games up on the New York Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees, who are kind of slumping (we guess?) could win 100 games and still play in the wild card round. That’s just how dominant the Red Sox have been this season. Sale has been front and center of that atop the rotation. After Sunday’s start, Sale has a 1.96 ERA, 1.94 FIP and a 2.6 xFIP. He has 219 strikeouts (13.5 K/9) to 33 walks (2.03 BB/9).
Before Sunday’s start, Sale was already working on one heckuva stint with the Red Sox. In his 54 starts prior to this one, he held a 2.56 ERA and 2.30 FIP while striking out 515 (13 K/9) and walking 76 (1.9 BB/9). How in the heck do you counter that? He turns 30 years old next March. He also has a team option for next season for just $13.5 million. Something tells us the Red Sox will pick that up.
Meanwhile, they are 50 games OVER .500. They have a 43-20 record on the road. Their run differential now stands at +213. There’s no stopping this team. And if Chris Sale can stay healthy down the stretch, well, you already know what’s possible. Up next, Boston travels to Philly for a quick two-game set.
Can somebody slow this juggernaut down?