Chris Sale shows he deserves to be part of AL Cy Young discussion

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They used to say "Don't pitch a lefty in Fenway Park." The Green Monster is so close and gives up so many cheap home runs to right-handed batters and so many cheap doubles off the wall that it will eventually get in your head if you're a southpaw. Whitey Ford was one of the best lefties of all time and Casey Stengel basically refused to pitch him there; Ford started 43 times against the Red Sox in his career, but just 12 times at nfl nike jerseys from china

The way Chris Sale pitched on Sunday, you could have put him on a Little League field in Colorado and the Mariners might not have scored off him. Sale shut down the Mariners in a 5-0 victory with 13 strikeouts over seven brisk innings, throwing 71 of 93 pitches for strikes, and fanning Mike Zunino with a 100.5 mph fastball on his final pitch -- the fastest pitch of his career. I'm not sure how the Mariners got four hits off him.71

Sale is serving notice that you shouldn't forget about him in what could be an epic American League Cy Young race -- John Smoltz said a few days ago it could be the best one ever. Justin Verlander may be the leader at the moment with his 1.60 ERA, but Corey Kluber and Luis Severino actually rank 1-2 in WAR with Sale fourth entering the day behind Verlander. Throw in Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell and Gerrit Cole and you have seven starters with ERAs under 2.60 and dominant peripheral stats to match.

"He was amazing," manager Alex Cora said of Sale after the game. "Velocity-wise, location-wise, the tempo. It was a big game, you win the series, you move on. From the get-go, from the first at-bat against Dee [Gordon], you could tell. He looks fresh, he's throwing the ball well, we're very pleased with where he's at right now."nfl cheap jerseys nike

Over his past four starts, Sale has allowed four runs in 28 innings with 43 strikeouts and just 15 hits allowed, a meager .155 average. For the season, he's 7-4 with a 2.56 ERA and ranks first in the AL in strikeouts, third behind Verlander and Cole in batting average allowed and second to Kluber in innings. His average fastball velocity has ramped up from 92.5 mph in April to 95.6 in May to 97.0 in June.

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