In last week’s start against Boston Chris Sale threw 127 pitches. On Monday night it was announced that Sale was placed on the disabled list due to a flexor strain. I’m not a doctor. Odds are you aren’t either. This fact will not stop a lot of people from doing the easy math of looking at the 127 pitches Sale threw — the most of his career in a game — and assigning blame to Robin Ventura for the injury.
Personally I find that to be too easy to do.
I’m just like anybody else. Considering how valuable Sale is to the White Sox, I always get scared when Robin Ventura lets Sale throw a lot of pitches. I’m scared every single time Sale throws a pitch, period. His motion just looks like a ligament tearing in two. That being said, it’s not like Sale hasn’t thrown a lot of pitches before and been just fine.
In fact, he’s yet to throw less than 105 pitches in any of his four starts this season, and last year was basically the same story.
Sale made 30 starts last season and threw 214.1 innings, averaging 108.3 pitches per start. He threw at least 100 pitches in 24 of his 30 starts in 2013. Of the six starts Sale didn’t reach the century mark, he allowed four or more runs in less than six innings in three of them. Two of his sub-100 pitch outings were his last two starts of the year when the Sox had nothing to play for.
And while the 127 pitches seems like a lot, Sale made three starts with 120 pitches or more last season (from June 14 to July 11), and they all came after Sale missed a start due to shoulder tendinitis. He survived, somehow.
Sale would finish 2013 having thrown 110 pitches or more in 15 of his starts.
What I’m saying is, Chris Sale threw a lot of pitches last season, and emerged from it all with a clean bill of health.
So what caused this trip to the disabled list?
Probably just the fact that pitchers get hurt sometimes. Plenty of pitchers who have their pitch counts closely monitored end up getting Tommy John surgery despite their team’s best efforts to protect them.
Pitchers get hurt. Take a look at the disabled lists around baseball this year, they are filled with pitchers with arm and shoulder problems. This is the case every year.
Chris Sale is on the disabled list because he’s a pitcher, and that’s what happens to pitchers. You can blame it on one night in April if you want to, or you can just accept the fact that bad things happen sometimes.
Just cross your fingers and hope they don’t happen too often.
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