Chris Sale makes hitting look even more impossible as he strikes out 14 Mariners
Hitting a baseball is already hard enough. If you don't wash out in Little League (like I did), or high school, or even college and somehow make it to the Minor Leagues, you still have a fraction of a chance of reaching the Major Leagues and even becoming a serviceable hitter, much less an All-Star.
And then a pitcher like Chris Sale shows up and makes you wonder how anyone could ever hit a pitch and why don't we just call it a day and play Yahtzee instead?
After already tying Pedro Martinez's record with eight-straight starts with double-digit strikeouts earlier this year and coming off a career-high-tying 15 strikeout performance against the Cubs in his last outing, Sale faced off against the Mariners on Friday night and mowed through their lineup, collecting 14 more punchouts.
It looked a little like this:
Said Tyler Flowers after catching Sale's 7 inning, three-run victory:
Like a dark sorcerer, Sale mixed his two-seam, changeup and slider to apparently create amazing invisi-pitches, wracking up a whopping 22 whiffs on the night and bringing his league-leading total to 395 swings and misses on the season.
With 222 strikeouts to his name and approximately eight starts left this season, Sale also has an outside shot at becoming the first pitcher to top 300 strikeouts since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling accomplished the feat with the D-backs in 2002. With an average of nearly 7 innings per start, Sale is on pace to strike out 74 more batters, bringing his total up to 296 -- just on the cusp of the 300 mark.
The performance also gave Sale his 12th start with 10-plus strikeouts this season, the most since Yu Darvish also had a dozen such starts in 2013. While that's plenty impressive, it's just barely halfway towards the record of an astonishing 23 starts in a season, held by Nolan Ryan in 1973 and Randy Johnson, who pulled off the feat an absurd three times (1999-01).
I guess Pedro Martinez was right when he said Sale should be called "the Little Unit."