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Chris Sale is officially the best pitcher in baseball

Rob Bradford
July 27, 2018 - 10:17 pm

Chris Sale was really good Friday night. Let's get that out the way.

Nothing unexpected in the Red Sox game against the Twins, with Sale pitching six shutout innings, striking out 10 and giving up just three hits. Along the way he managed to claim another wave of history, becoming the fastest pitcher in the American League to strikeout 200 batters after striking out the side in the first inning. He also became the only pitcher in Fenway Park's 107-year history to not allow a run and record 10 or more strikeouts in three consecutive starts at the Sox' home.

In other words, it was another day Sale got to pitch.

There is little debate involving the Red Sox' ace these days, with his ERA dropping to 2.04 and batting average against sitting at .174. Both are best in the Amerian League.

There is one question that lingers, however. Is Sale the best pitcher in baseball? Right now, he is.

Only the Mets' Jacob deGrom has a better ERA, but let's be honest, the fact that he is doing it in the National League has to be considered, with his BAA 21 points higher than the Red Sox ace. Houston's Justin Verlander is Sale's most logical competition, coming into Friday with a 2.19 ERA and .186 batting average against, having allowed six more home runs than the Sox' lefty.

Blake Snell, Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino are Trevor Bauer are all having the kind of seasons that would allow them to jump into the conversation if Sale takes a downturn. But, so far, there has been no sign of a dip. This 22nd start of the season told a dramatically different tale than the one last season when Sale began his uncomfortable final two months with a seven-run, five-inning stinker against Cleveland.

Things can change, obviously. But as we sit here there can't be a pitcher in the big leagues would rather have on the mound that isn't named Chris Sale. He has allowed just one run over his last six starts. That's 39 innings. That makes this debate really hard to argue.

Normally it would be a debate. Right now it's not.