AL Cy Young Reaction and Rotation Expectations for the 2018 Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox had some spectacular pitching performances this year. Many of them came from closer Craig Kimbrel and ace Chris Sale. These two stars led the Sox to the fourth-best ERA in the Majors this past year, and combined for 434 strikeouts this season over 283.1 innings. That’s good enough to strike out roughly 13.79 batters, per nine innings. Doing the math, that means that between Kimbrel and Sale would strike out, on average, more than half of the outs through a typical 9 inning game when they were the only two that pitched that game. Obviously, the instance of Sale and Kimbrel going back-to-back and being the only pitchers to appear in a game was slim, and will continue to be slim. Kimbrel was dominant the entire year, not showing any signs of fatigue in September. He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting, finishing ahead of Twins’ ace Ervin Santana and Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman. Chris Sale’s case is incredibly different, as he slowed down significantly over the last two months of the season. In August and September, Sale recorded a bleak 4.09 ERA, according to Baseball Reference. In the last two months of the season, Sale went from being a potential unanimous Cy Young and possible MVP candidate to finishing as the runner-up in the Cy Young to Corey Kluber. Kluber, despite being injured...

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