Remember yesterday, when we were talking about how incredible Rays ace and kiss-denier Chris Archer has been over his last three starts, during which he literally made baseball history? Well, it’s time to give Chris Sale some love, too, because he’s been just as dominant as Archer has during his last few starts for the White Sox.
Sale has pitched four straight games in which he’s induced at least 20 swings and misses, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since 2002, according to MLB.com. First, watch this mesmerizing video of an assortment of the swings and misses from his last four starts, and then we’ll talk about how crazy this all is:
The surface statistics from these starts—49 strikeouts and four walks in 30.2 innings—are self-evidently astonishing, but the more granular stuff is where the true wonder is, because it tells us that every pitch in Sale’s arsenal has been more or less untouchable since May 23.
Via Brooks Baseball and Pitch f/x, here are the whiffs per swing rates on all of Sale’s pitches from his last four starts:
- Fastball: 28.43 percent
- Sinker: 25 percent
- Change up: 50.53 percent
- Slider: 46.51 percent
Those numbers are insane, particularly the two attached to the slider and change up. For context, Stephen Strasburg had the whiffiest change up in baseball last year, racking up a whiffs per swing rate of 46.42 percent, and 2014’s most elusive slider (46.43 percent) belonged to Ervin Santana. So, basically, Chris Sale has spent his last 30 innings on the mound armed with not one, but two impossibly deadly out pitches.
Here’s another absurd statistic: opposing batters have swung and missed at over 20 percent of all the pitches Sale has thrown over his last four starts. Spend more time watching Chris Sale pitch. That is all.