It's hard not to be concerned about Chris Sale after watching the Boston Red Sox ace get roughed up in Seattle on Thursday night.
What's the best way to quell those concerns? Context, of course.
Below is a comparison of Sale's brutal Opening Day start against the Mariners and Pedro Martinez's 2002 Opening Day outing for the Red Sox versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Chris Sale (2019) and Pedro Martinez (2002) on opening day— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) March 29, 2019
S - 3.0
M - 3.0
S - 7
P - 7
S - 2
M - 2
S - 4
M - 4
S - 59.2%
M - 60.7%
Let's hope Sale finishes the year like Pedro did in 2002
(20-4, .833) - 2.26 ERA
So ... yeah. Their stat lines were virtually identical. Boston's opponent even scored a total of 12 runs in both games, both losses.
But Martinez bounced back in a huge way, pitching a shutout in his next appearance (one of his 11 shutouts on the season) and steamrolling to 20-4 record with an MLB-best 2.26 ERA with an American League-leading 239 strikeouts.
Does Martinez's Opening Day start from 17 years ago mean Sale is about to post a Cy Young-caliber season? Of course not. They're two different pitchers in completely different eras dealing with varying degrees of arm trouble.
But lest you think we're comparing apples to oranges: Martinez was 30 years old in 2002, his 11th MLB campaign. Sale? He turns 30 on Saturday as he begins his 10th MLB season.
The Red Sox ace may need to make adjustments going forward to rediscover the effectiveness that earned him seven consecutive All-Star nods. But there's precedent for a bounce-back, and Sale doesn't need to leave the organization (Martinez is employed by the Red Sox as a special assistant) to find it.
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