The Boston Red Sox have the best record in baseball (87-36) and an outside shot at breaking the single-season record for wins (116). But that doesn't make them immune to bad news.
Bad news Saturday arrived in the form of ace Chris Sale requiring another stint on the disabled list. Sale is set to miss time for the second instance this year due to shoulder inflammation:
On the season, Sale has a 1.97 ERA and a 6.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23 starts. He missed two weeks, including the beginning of August, while on the shelf dealing with the same issue. In one start since, he threw five shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles permitting a hit and no walks while striking out 12 batters on 68 pitches.
Needless to say, the Red Sox need a hearty and hale Sale in order to feel confident about their chances of making a deep postseason run. That's no knock against the rest of the Red Sox rotation -- Rick Porcello and David Price have rebounded and Nate Eovaldi is a fine No. 4 starter -- just that Sale has been the top pitcher in the American League and has a massive impact for Boston.
In a sense, the Red Sox's top priority between now and the postseason shouldn't be winning 117 games -- it should be making sure Sale is ready to roll come Game 1 of the AL Divisional Series.