I've taken some heat on the ol' twitters for my obsession with Sale's velocity. Not wanting to let anyone down, I was anxious and worried as Sale delivered that first heater. Not to go right back into the sort of news that takes the "Caw!" out of your mouth, but I had this on my mind:
One thing's for certain, though: Sale's precipitous drop in velocity is a real problem and highly indicative of some sort of injury to the pitching arm. Just because he's not reporting pain doesn't mean he's not injured - plenty of pitchers throw while injured though they display no symptoms.
That's Kyle Boddy, my hired (except free) gun on all things biomechanics. I need guys like him because pitcher injuries are fairly significantly beyond my ken. The vast majority of baseball commentators, for that matter, don't know much about what they're looking at. Just as with the vast array of people, claims and techniques Moneyball threw in front of the public, this brand of science brings to the fore a reservoir of information and subsequent conclusions the response to which an individual fan should rightly find difficult to manage. But they should be very very willing to figure it the hell out.
Because, let's face it, the potential import is undeniable. What happens with Chris Sale is huge for a franchise that's drained of reserves and has all its money on the table. Can you think what this team would be like without him? The payroll would be the same, only we'd have no chance in the division.
Now, Boddy's not exactly telling Caesar to avoid the capital; fate is not known. He's cool with the Sox plan to have him out there. It's something more like, if we knew there are a bunch of dudes with knives down the way, maybe just chill at home for a while. Without an explicit diagnosis enabled by higher tech and access than fans are permitted, all we have are radar readings and every dip, contort, fling, grimace, stare and smile.
Having seen every one of those this year, here's what i think: this guy is the best pitcher I've seen in a Sox uniform. I don't have an editor, this is just me, right now, with a functioningish brain. The guy is absolutely fantastic. I can't believe how savvy he is, how intense he is. Do you remember that look on his face for that relief appearance? Pure malice. Toward whomever. He was a man denied, furious.
But he's back where he knows he belongs and he's so good and so weird that we really really do not know how much time we have with him. His nickname is the Condor! It was supposed to be a joke, but this is baseball. Do you remember Carlos Quentin's 2008? How well? And how well will you? Does anyone even care about Loaiza's 2003? Humber's perfect game? How about compared to Buehrle's? We remember Frank. We remember Mark. So I'm telling you, emboss in those synapses these starts and remember because right now, he's that damn good. It's August, there's a pennant to win and he's going to pitch until he falls down.
2012 might not be all we get of Chris Sale, but it might be all we get of 2012 Chris Sale.