Coming into the 2017 season, many people were excited to see the newly acquired Chris Sale in a Red Sox uniform. Many people believed that Sale would be the front runner for AL Cy Young. That is easy to believe, because of the better offense and fan base that Boston features. Don’t forget that the Red Sox also contend for a championship every season. That being said, who wouldn’t believe Sale could be the favorite to win his first Cy Young?
BUT WAIT, THERE’S A MAN NAMED KLUBER
Corey Kluber, who came out of the gate with a 2-1 record with a .228 opponent batting average and also a great opponent on base percentage of .284 in his first 5 starts. Kluber went 3 innings against the Tigers in his sixth start before leaving the game, and later placed on the DL with a lower back strain. Kluber came back on June 1st, and finished the first half with a 7-3 record, 2.80 ERA, and an even more impressive .256 opponent on base percentage.
During this time, Chris Sale was also dominating opposing hitters. Sale’s 1st half performance was even better than Kluber’s. Sale made 18 starts, with a 13-5 record, 2.75 ERA, and an opponent on base of .241. The sidearm slinger known as The Condor, earned himself the starting gig for the AL All-Star squad. At this time, heading into the second half of the season, it looked like Sale was the runaway favorite for Cy Young, like most people expected.
As the second half begun, the Indians were looking to make their big run to really solidify their playoff seed. They indeed did just that as we all know, who went on to win an AL record 22 games in a row! So far in the second half, Kluber has been as close to unhittable as it can get. In the month of August, Kluber made 6 starts, going 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA! The Klubot terrorized hitters with a .146 opponent batting average, and also a .187 opponent on base! The average opponent on base percentage is near .320! Don’t forget that Kluber also faced some of the best hitting teams in baseball, including the Red Sox, Rockies and the Yankees, whom he faced twice. Kluber also threw 2 complete games! After those performances, Kluber was rightfully awarded the AL August Pitcher of the Month.
During the same time span in August, Sale also made 6 starts, going 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA. Sale also faced great hitting teams as well, the Indians and the Yankees. It wasn’t that Sale didn’t have control, he simply was just getting hit. The month of August really opened the eyes of fans and analysts who thought Sale was the clear cut winner of the Cy Young.
As we look at both stud pitchers stats today, Sale has an ERA of 2.75, with an opponent batting average of .203, and also a .249 opponent on base. Kluber on the other hand, owns a 2.35 ERA, which leads the league. He also has an opponent batting average of .188 and a opponent on base of .232!
Kluber easily leads Sale in the stat department thus far into the season. And unless there is a major blowup, Kluber is looking at his second career Cy Young award.