The videos of Chris Sale throwing bullpens have been making the rounds for the last few weeks. Rightfully so because this man’s stuff is looking filthy, he, without a doubt, looks to be on track for the reported July/August return. My question is, what role will he play? More importantly, what role should he play?
What His Role Will Be
The Sox have proceeded cautiously with Sale, as they should. This won’t change even once he is back pitching at Fenway. I expect the Sox to utilize Sale out of the bullpen, especially for the last couple of months of the season. He still won’t be able to log long outings on the mound this season, so using out of the pen for 3 or 4 innings at a time allows for the Sox to effectively use him while still easing his way back into the Chris Sale of old. This will be a boost to an already pretty solid pen.
What Should They Do
Bottom line Sale is not a relief pitcher. They need to get him back into his regular routine as soon as possible. I understand they want to ease him back into it, but they will still be able to do that with the number of arms they have in the bullpen. How they should manage, it is every 5th day have it as Chris Sale start the game and go about 60 to 70 pitches then bring in Garrett Whitlock for the 2 or 3 innings. Pair these guys together, and you are in a nice spot to win the games while also monitoring their innings and workload. Both guys are recovering from Tommy John, and both guys will be in the rotation next season.
The bottom line is neither the Sox starting rotation, nor the bullpen is good enough to win a World Series yet. Adding Sale in any capacity is an upgrade. They still need to go out an arm, another arm or two, and from the sound of it, Chaim Bloom intends to do so. The Red Sox are in a prime spot to make a deep playoff run. They are just one or two moves away from putting themselves in a great spot to win the whole thing. Sale will be a huge addition, especially once the Sox ship Garrett Richards to the moon. Whatever Cora decides to do with Sale, it’s a plus. Buckle up, people; it’s about to be an entertaining second half of the year.
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-Kevin Perdios (@kperdios15 on Twitter)