Should Chris Sale make his next start in the playoffs?

Chris Sale took the loss Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. He went five innings allowing 8 H, 5 ER, and worst of all, FOUR home runs. His record now stands at 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA.

In two straight losses, the Red Sox have seen their AL East lead slip to three games. Themselves and the Yankees each have five games left in the season. The magic number for the Sox to clinch the division is still three.

After Sunday, the AL East seemed to be locked up, now Red Sox fans are getting anxious. They do not want to see a 1978 or 2011 collapse. Though the Sox have clinched a postseason berth, nobody wants to play a one-game playoff, which would be at Fenway.

Last two months

As he started the season off hot, there have been questions about fatigue issues for Sale.

AUGUST LINE TOTALS:

6 starts, 2-2, 37 IP, 31 H, 18 ER, 4 HR, 8 BB, 53 SO, 4.38 ERA

SEPTEMBER LINE TOTALS:

5 starts, 2-2, 29 IP, 31 H, 12 ER, 9 HR, 6 BB, 36 SO, 3.72 ERA

His September line has been a little better than his August, which is a good sign. But is a start in the 162nd game of the season worth the risk for Game 1? The only way, I believe, that he starts this game is if the AL East is somehow not locked up yet. The Red Sox can’t move up in the American League standings. A division crown will put Boston in either Cleveland or Houston for ALDS games one and two. The Game 1 start would feature Sale vs. Dallas Keuchel. Corey Kluber if Cleveland is the opponent.

Could the extra rest hurt?

Houston is coming to Fenway this weekend, and Keuchel was scheduled to start the final game against Sale. With home field in the ALDS locked up, Keuchel and Verlander are no longer slated to pitch in Boston. Even though the Astros only sit 1.5 games behind Cleveland for the American League crown.

Sometimes taking pitchers out of a routine can hurt their performance. With Sale going all season, I believe it will benefit him.

Final Decision

With MLB’s Week 17 coming around, I do not think Sale should start Sunday against Houston. If I was John Farrell, I would make that decision now. I do not think that the Yankees will win their last five games, and I also think the Sox will clinch before game number 162. Knowing Sale, and the gamer he is, he wants to pitch every chance he gets. But I want him fresh for his first career postseason start.

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