Statistics decide postseason awards, and for pitchers, victories are the first eye-catcher.
For as good as Chris Sale is, his lack of a glowing number in that category will impact his Cy Young Award chances.
Not that Sale (15-8) dwells on it.
“I let all that stuff work itself out. I pitch for my teammates and myself and the fans,’’ he said after his latest strong outing Sunday still ended in a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Sale has a 3.03 ERA overall, but in his last four games, he is 1-2 despite a 1.54 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 41 innings.
He is 1-5 in his last 10 games, with a 2.47 ERA and 82 strikeouts.
That includes the 12 strikeouts Sunday when he became the first Sox pitcher to record four consecutive seasons with at least 200 strikeouts.
“I think more than anything it’s the innings pitched,’’ he said of reach 201 innings. “If you go out and fill up innings, all the other stuff is going to work out.
“But there’s not a single part of me that wouldn’t give all that to be in the playoffs four years in a row.’’
The Royals had eight hits in eight innings against Sale, but two were solo home runs—by Kendrys Morales (27th) and Eric Hosmer (23rd)—to account for the scoring.
The Sox not only were scoreless, they had only two hits, both by Adam Eaton, who singled to lead off the game before being picked off by Ian Kennedy (11-9), and who singled in the ninth.
“Sale goes out and pitches a heck of a game, does what he does,’’ Eaton said. “We need to scrape across a few runs. We’ve got to do better for Sale.’’
Kennedy worked six innings before Peter Moylan, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis (24th save) finished.
“With only two hits, you’re not going to have a very good chance of winning the game,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
Sale limited the damage with strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fifth when the Royals opened the inning with two men on base.
But Kennedy was as tough on the Sox after walking the bases loaded in the third, getting Melky Cabrera to fly to right to end the inning.
“We had an opportunity and couldn’t do anything with it,’’ Ventura said.
Sale has evolved as a pitcher who can pace himself through a game and still be able to strike out batters in clutch situations, Ventura said.
“That’s what makes him dangerous. That’s what makes him good,’’ he said.
But wins often are what make a pitcher a Cy Young recipient.
“I know I wish there were more wins, but as far as numbers, his stack up there with anybody and people should look at that,’’ Ventura said.
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