Source: baseballprospectus.com

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The Boston Red Sox ace had one of the best outings of his career on Wednesday. The hard-throwing lefty pitched a three-hit shutout, pitching all nine innings while striking out 12 and walking nobody. With the start, Sale’s ERA dropped to below 4.0 for the first time since the season opener. It’s safe to say that Chris Sale is back and better than ever.

Chris Sale Officially Back

Every part of Sale’s night was amazing, but the most impressive part of the evening came in the eighth inning. Sale needed just nine pitches to get out of the frame, striking out all three batters for an immaculate inning. This was Sale’s second immaculate inning of the season and puts him in rarefied air. Sale joins Lefty Grove as the only pitchers in history to toss two immaculate innings in the same season. Not bad considering it’s only June.

So far on the season, Sale has a 3.84 ERA and a 3.17 FIP while posting a 12.8 K/9 and a 2.21 BB/9. These numbers, while solid on their own, are actually inflated by Sale’s poor start to the season. It’s no secret that Alex Cora believes in a conservation strategy and rested his starters in spring training. Because of this, Sale (and the majority of the staff) started off slow. Through his first six starts, Sale had an ugly 6.30 ERA and a 5.26 FIP.

Sale has completely transformed back into his old form over his last seven starts. Since May 3rd, Sale owns a 2.28 ERA and a 1.85 FIP while posting a 14.83 K/9 and a 1.71 BB/9.  If extrapolated over a full season, Sale’s ERA would be fifth-best in the league while his FIP would come in as the best in the majors. This is the Sale the Red Sox thought they were getting, and let’s hope he can continue that success late into the season.