We’ve all probably seen a Bad Luck Brian Meme. Bad Luck Brian is the guy who perpetually tries to do well and always ends up with a bit of bad luck to make his end result a little less noteworthy. Chris Sale is the humanoid baseball version of this meme currently. He needs 8 lb., 6 oz., Baby Jesus immediately.
Chris Sale, who made his second All-Star team, also played part in another round of Pitch Well/Take Loss yesterday that has to be getting a little old at this point. Much like Cliff Lee last season, and many other pitchers before that who have fallen victim to the dreaded Low Run Support statistic, Sale went 7 innings, gave up 6 hits and 1 walk, allowed 2 earned runs – and, yep – took the loss after the White Sox failed to score a run. Like previously mentioned on this site, this is not Sale’s first foray into the realm of bitter defeat. Yet, it needs to be mentioned he is on a streak of bad luck that rivals this guy’s unfortunate circumstances.
Over the course of the season, Sale has 13 games in which he has given up 3 earned runs or less (seven of which were losses). Over that same span, the White Sox have scored three or less runs nine different times – having been shut out in three of those games. For the month of June, Sale was 0-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 6 starts, while striking out 53 in 42 1/3 innings. Since May 2, the White Sox have scored 21 runs in his 10 starts. Does it need mentioning that the White Sox are in last place in the AL Central while scoring the second fewest runs in the entire league? We mentioned it in case it needed to be. However, it is not the statistics mentioned above that will keep him in the Cy Young hunt even if the Wins don’t start coming. Ask Felix Hernandez about that.
Chris Sale can thank the Sabermetrics community for making something out of his team’s awful start this year. Sale is tied for 6th in WAR for pitchers (ahead of aces such as Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander, and Hernandez), ranks first in ERA+ (which adjusts your ERA based on your ballpark), and sports the league’s sixth-highest strikeout ratio. So, at least we know his pitching isn’t going totally unaccounted for (which ultimately solidifies his All-Star selection). Typically, these types of droughts can happen to pitchers and it rights itself eventually. However, if the Sox can’t figure out a way to turn a few of those L’s into W’s, his Cy contention will disappear and his Case of the Mondays will continue throughout the season.