The Boston Red Sox aren’t taking any chances with Chris Sale. As well they shouldn’t. So, if his throwing arm is acting up, even just a little, it makes all the sense in the world to immediately put him on the DL. That’s what the Red Sox have done. The team announced on Tuesday that Sale has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Approximately three minutes later, the team made an updated announcement, saying that Sale was placed on the 10-day DL with “mild” left shoulder inflammation.
Hearing what everyone had to say after the announcement, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything serious. They just don’t want to take any chances. And again, I don’t blame them. You knew there was a “but” coming. And that “but” is that Sale was supposed to open up a crucial four-game series against the New York Yankees at Fenway on Thursday night. Instead, Brian Johnson will take his place.
I’m not saying I’m concerned. But I’m not saying I’m not concerned. Make sense? For the Red Sox to make a legitimate postseason run, they’re going to need Sale to be at his best. He wasn’t at his best to begin last year’s ALDS against the Houston Astros, and in an ever-so-short best-of-five series, one bad start from your ace can end your season in the blink of an eye.
Perhaps this DL stint is the organizational acknowledgement that a healthy Sale in the postseason is much more important than a healthy Sale in early August, even if it is against the Yankees. But there’s always a chance that this inflammation could lead to something bigger. I’m no doctor, but when your job is to throw a baseball in the mid-to-upper 90’s, any type of inflammation or soreness in that throwing shoulder is of some concern.
Again, I’m not saying I’m concerned, but, well, you get the point. I’d say the best remedy here is prayer. If you’re the Red Sox, say a prayer that the inflammation goes down and never comes back. Because Sale is the most important piece to a championship.
—The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and the Red Sox did not make any moves on Tuesday, the day of the deadline. They did, however, trade for second baseman Ian Kinsler on Monday night, sending a pair of Triple-A pitchers to the Los Angeles Angels. Kinsler turned 36 in June, and it’s hard to believe that this is his 13th year in the league. It feels like yesterday he was an All Star for the Texas Rangers. He’s not an All-Star caliber player anymore, but it should be noted that Kinsler is a career .291 hitter in the postseason, with four home runs and 20 RBI in 37 total postseason games. He’s been in the World Series twice and has a .293 average in 12 World Series games.
Take that for what it’s worth. But it’s something positive to take away from a guy who was hitting .239 in 91 games with the Angels this year. I don’t expect Kinsler to have a major impact on this Red Sox team, but the good thing is, he might not need to. He is strictly a depth piece. With Dustin Pedroia’s status up in the air, it certainly couldn’t hurt to at least bring Kinsler on board to provide some veteran experience in the postseason, where his career numbers aren’t bad.
The Sox also added right-handed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays last week. This is simply just another depth piece, but I like this addition even more, because you can never have too much starting pitching. But let’s be honest, even though Eovaldi’s Red Sox debut on Sunday was a very good one — 7 shutout innings, four hits, no walks, and five strikeouts — the postseason rotation, in a perfect world, would not include Eovaldi. Even though the Red Sox did not add a reliever before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, they can still add one in the month of August, it’s just a little more difficult because that player would have to either be claimed off waivers or clear waivers first.
But even if the Sox don’t add another reliever, they could just move Eovaldi to the bullpen in the postseason.
—The Boston Bruins announced on Tuesday that they will retire Rick Middleton’s No. 16 this season, on Nov. 29. I didn’t think this would be the next number we’d be talking about being retired in Boston. Whenever this conversation comes up though, I wonder when we’ll hear the Red Sox announce that they’ll be retiring Roger Clemens’ No. 21. Nobody on the Red Sox has ever worn 21 since Clemens left for Toronto in 1997. But it’s time to make it official.