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Chris Sale offered the most important quote from Red Sox Winter Weekend

Rob Bradford
January 22, 2018 - 2:53 pm

As we sit here right now, Chris Sale has to be considered the most valuable member of the 2018 Red Sox.

So, when the ace offers insight as to the biggest question involving his existence -- why he wasn't able to get through 2017 without wearing down -- we should take note. That's exactly why Sale's explanation of what happened to him last season should be considered the biggest news coming out of the team's Winter Weekend at Foxwoods.

As he now explains it, last year was just way too much, too soon.

"You know I was new here last year. I came in and I felt like I had to prove something," Sale told reporters Saturday. "I hadn’t thrown a single pitch in front of you guys, in front of any of the fans. So I felt, part of me felt I had to come in and say hey, this is what you’re getting. And you know, I showed up to spring training really ready to go. You know my arm was in almost season-form and I think we’re going to gradually build that up this year instead of you know, coming out hot out of the gate."

Sale kicked off the Grapefruit League season offering fastballs in the upper-90's, with a wipeout slider that seemed like midseason form. It carried over for the majority of the season's first half, with the lefty seemingly cruising to the American League Cy Young Award with 11 wins and a 2.74 ERA prior to the All-Star break. 

But starting with his disastrous Aug. 1 start -- giving up seven runs over five innings against the Indians -- things started going downhill fast for the starter. Sale would total a 4.09 ERA in his last 11 starts, suffering a five-run, seven-run outing in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against Houston.

This time, there is a different plan in place.

"Just preparation and the amount of throws made in the offseason, the amount of throws made in spring training," Sale said. "Just kind of playing it by ear when the season rolls around. I won’t spill the beans but we’ve got a pretty good routine, I guess you could call it, set up. I’m looking forward to it."

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