Red Sox starter Chris Sale began the season with a 7.43 ERA in his first five starts, along with generating a 22.2 percent home run to fly ball rate, and some began to question if the 30-year-old was losing his dominant stuff.
But Sale has racked up a 2.05 ERA over his past seven starts with a 10.6% HR/FB rate during that span. He’s tossed two immaculate innings as well, punching out all three batters he faced in each inning with the minimum pitch count -- the second pitcher to accomplish that feat in MLB history (Lefty Grove, 1928).
“Big Time Baseball: Players Edition” co-hosts Ben Davis and Tony Gwynn Jr. broke down what makes Sale such a dominant southpaw when he’s on.
“When he kicks his right leg up, he’s actually stepping towards the first base bag,” Davis said. “So it’s got that crossfire action, then he’s got that low three-quarter delivery with his arm. ... He can throw the fastball in underneath the hands, but then much like Randy Johnson, he can throw that slider on the same plane. So you have to respect the velocity.”
You can find the rest of the episode below, as Davis and Gwynn discuss the long-term impact of Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel on the Cubs and Braves, respectively (2:31), the MLB trade market ahead of the July 31 deadline (8:44), the Josh Donaldson/Joe Musgrave ejection from earlier this week (13:30), Corey Seager's hamstring injury (15:13), whether the home run surge across MLB is due to juiced baseballs (22:08) and the David Ortiz shooting in the Dominican Republic (25:11).
They also chat with Rays rookie second baseman Brandon Lowe about his big campaign thus far and Tampa Bay's hot first-half (31:39).