More terrifying than Chris Sale's perilously thin frame is his world-beating slider.
The 6'6" lefty ace has ridden his best pitch to a career ERA of 2.86 and three top-five CY Young Award finishes in his six-plus MLB seasons. Even with the 27-year-old's velocity taking a relatively significant drop in 2015, the threat of a slider that can break about a foot inside to righty batters and a foot away from lefties is enough to render offenses helpless.
Just ask Batlimore Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo.
The veteran slugger is enjoying his first season with the O's, hitting .330/.376/.553 through the team's first 24 games.
Still, he's practically useles against a Sale slider.
On Sunday, he showed just how useless when he struck out on a slider that hit him in the leg.
Chris Sale's slider is so dirty that the dude struck out & it hit him pic.twitter.com/isvmhprXyd
— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) May 1, 2016
Not in the foot—hanging behind the rest of his body, close to the ground at the catcher's feet—but in the knee, nowhere near the plate.
A good sport, Trumbo was at least able to laugh at his failure.
Sale would battle some control issues, walking four but surrendering just one run in 5.1 innings to earn his majors-leading sixth win of the season. He also leads the American League in innings pitched with 43.1 and owns an ERA of 1.66.
"I was erratic today. I didn't really quite have my sharpness. I walked a few too many guys," Sale said after the 7-1 victory.
With a slider like Sale's, this isn't the first and won't be the last time the pitch embarrasses a hitter. But he's more than a rail-thin one-trick pony. Sale once got Pablo Sandoval, a lefty, to strike out on a fastball that him.