When I sat down to write something about Chris Sale moving to the Bullpen, I did as I always do and researched the subject first, looking for stats to develop some sort of a hypothesis. Most of Sales numbers throughout his 2012 starts are consistant, nothing that would raise red flags. Clearly as a starter his velocity has fallen from the highs of pitching from the ‘pen and with larger sample sizes some of the numbers are different, but that’s to be expected.
One number in particular has stuck out to me, 32. That is the number of innings he has pitched thus far, almost half of his highest single season total of 71, through only one month of the season. So it is reasonable that the problem is exactly what the Sox claim, a swollen elbow, no smoke and mirrors. A swollen elbow can be cured with time and ice.
In 2009 when the Sox acquired an injured Jake Peavy they were so excited to use their new toy that they put him in too early, like a kid at Christmas so excited to play with his gift that he doesn’t take time to read the instructions and breaks the toy. This caused a whole string of issues for Peavy from mechanics issues to more injuries.
And then again in 2010 when Peavy’s lat fell off, most Sox fans were angered for not taking precautions with the highly paid pitcher after random bruising appeared over the place that eventually turned out to be the injury location.
Now Sox fans are upset because they are taking those precautions.
It’s understandable from a fans perspective because Sale is supposed to be the future and Peavy was an over paid injury waiting to happen. But, at least this time they’re trying, gotta give them credit for that
So if it’s a precaution why not just shelf him for a while, isn’t that why there’s a DL? Don Cooper, pitching coach, said, “It’s the best way to keep him healthy and strong. It gives us the best opportunity to do that. It’s easier to maintain that and keep tabs on this in the bullpen than it is as a starter.” Which makes sense because a starter is going to be expect to got at least 6 IP whereas out of the bullpen he could be used for a limited number of hitters.
Does it annoy me as a Sox fan that our most highly touted pitcher is being moved from rotation to ‘pen? Of course, it makes me want to roundhouse Kenny Williams but at least they are learning their lesson from Peavys problems.
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