The White Sox are going to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight year and they appear headed for their fourth consecutive losing record, despite having one of the best pitchers in baseball atop their rotation.
Almost too perfectly illustrating that point was the Royals-White Sox game on Sunday. Sale took the loss despite allowing only two earned runs in eight innings while striking out 12.
He now leads the AL with 201 2/3 innings, five complete games and a 1.02 WHIP. He has a 15-8 record, but he was 14-2 at one point. Since the All-Star Game -- that Sale started -- he has a 2.47 ERA while holding his opponents to a .212/.276/.319 line. Thanks to awful run support, however, he's 1-5 and the White Sox have won only two of his 10 starts.
That's remarkable futility in spite of a great pitcher. When it comes to racking up the strikeouts, he's an all-time great White Sox pitcher, too.
Sale went over 200 strikeouts on the season during the course of Sunday's outing. This marks the fourth straight season that Sale hit 200 and that's the first time in White Sox history a pitcher has done as much.
Here are the pitchers in club history with multiple 200-strikeout seasons:
There are only three others (one each for Esteban Loaiza, Alex Fernandez and Wilbur Wood).
This is only Sale's fifth year in the White Sox rotation, and he already has 22.2 percent of the club's 200-strikeout seasons in franchise history.
Walsh, of course, has more, but he's also a Hall of Famer and threw an average of 403 2/3 innings per season in those five years (1907-08, 1910-12). So Sale's strikeout rate is much higher and we're comparing him to a guy in the Deadball Era anyway.
In terms of strikeouts on a per-game basis, Sale hitting double digits on Sunday marked the 34th time in his career. He's lapping the rest of the White Sox pitchers in history. Here are the pitchers with at least 10 career double-digit strikeout games with the White Sox.
1. Chris Sale, 34
2. Juan Pizarro, 15
3. Javier Vazquez, 13
4. Alex Fernandez, 12
5. Billy Pierce, 11
6. Gary Peters, 10
Basically, we're watching the prime of one of the best pitchers in White Sox history -- and certainly the best strikeout pitcher in club history -- continue to be wasted on mediocre-at-best teams.
He's cheap, too, at $9.15 million this season and $12 million next year before club options in 2018 ($12.5M) and 2019 ($13.5M).
It's a situation that has to be personally frustrating for Sale (remember when he cut up the jerseys?) as well as for fans, even if they love watching Sale pitch. As for the front office: Do a better job. You're wasting an elite arm.