Chris Sale Might Need Tommy John; Red Sox Pennant Odds Fall to +3000

  • Chris Sale is seeing Dr. James Andrews to get more insight on his elbow inflammation
  • Sale has a 4.40 ERA and a 2.3 WAR this season
  • The Boston Red Sox are currently 6.5 games out of a playoff spot

It looks like the Boston Red Sox have lost ace Chris Sale for the season. While he’s going to get a second opinion on his troublesome elbow, the Red Sox could be without him for a while. They’re currently 6.5 games out of a playoff spot and their AL pennant odds now sit at +3000 to win the American League pennant. Are the defending World Series champs worth a flier at a long price?

2019 American League Pennant Odds

TeamOdds at Bovada*
Houston Astros-120
New York Yankees+220
Minnesota Twins+750
Cleveland Indians+800
Tampa Bay Rays+1300
Oakland Athletics+1800
Boston Red Sox+3000
Los Angeles Angeles+20000
Texas Rangers+25000
Chicago White Sox+75000

*Odds taken August 19, 2019. 

Sale Out With Elbow Inflammation

The mood in Boston has gone from disappointed to nervous in the past week. Suffering through a World Series hangover (after winning it all last season) is frustrating, but understanding. Losing staff ace Chris Sale for the rest of the season and possibly 2020 is a serious concern.

Sale has the dreaded elbow inflammation, which typically leads to Tommy John surgery. He’s going to go see the venerated Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion but as of now, it looks like he’s out for at least the rest of the season.

The good news is that we don’t know that he needs Tommy John surgery, although visiting Dr. Andrews suggests that it’s something they’re thinking about. And remember that fellow Red Sox David Price was worried about needing this surgery but he recovered through treatment and rehab. It’s not doom and gloom just yet.

Sale Was Red Hot

What hurts the Red Sox is that in the short term, they really needed Sale. He’s having a decent season by some metrics as his 1.09 WHIP would indicate, but his 4.40 ERA and 2.3 WAR (down from 6.9 last season) tell us that he’s far below expectations. He had allowed just three earned runs and seven hits over his last two starts, suggesting that he may have turned a corner.

However, with the Red Sox seemingly out of playoff contention, it makes no sense for them to force their star southpaw out there. They’ll take every precaution with him.

Red Sox Just Don’t Have It

The truth of the matter is with Sale or not, this team just doesn’t have it this year. Last year was magical and it felt like they were building towards something. This season has felt like they’re stuck in the mud, just trying to pull themselves out.

On the surface, a 67-59 record is nothing to be ashamed of at this point. At the same time, this is a team that is 18-18 over their last 36 games. The hitting is there – they lead in batting average since the All-Star break, are third in runs and fifth in home runs – but the pitching staff is a nightmare.

2019 World Series Odds Tracker

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As a team, they have a 4.72 ERA, which ranks them 20th in the Majors. That ERA is up to 5.05 since the All-Star break. They’ve been serving up dingers at an alarming rate as opponents have hit 55 home runs against them in the second half – the eighth-most.

This is a team that has to make up 6.5 games on either Cleveland, Tampa Bay or Oakland – they’ll have to surpass two of them – and I just don’t see it happening. Had they had a number of series against the Baltimore Orioles remaining, maybe it’s a possibility. However, seven of their final 12 series are against teams with a winning record.

When you add it all up, I’m not interested in betting this team to win the American League Pennant at any price.

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