If you're the Atlanta Braves, you just want the month of May to be over with already.

On Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park to finish out a three-game series, the Braves walked away with what hasn't been easy to come by lately — an 8-1 victory. They avoided the sweep but lost the series. It's their second series loss in their last three, during which they've lost seven out of their last 13 games. They're 11-11 (.500) during the month with five games left to play. If they finish under .500, it would be the first time they've done so since May of 2022 when they went 13-15 (.464).

It helped that the Braves had one of their best on the mound on Sunday in left-hander Chris Sale. The former Red Sox pitcher went seven innings, allowed four hits, one walk, and struck out eight. The only minor blip was that his 21 innings of scoreless baseball ended when he gave up one earned run in the bottom of the second inning off a Yasmani Grandal single into left that drove in Edward Olivares.

Sale's masterful performance helped alleviate the loss of Ronald Acuna Jr., who went down in the top of the first inning after a non-contact injury while attempting to steal third base. Though the injury is still uncertain, labeled for now as “knee soreness” (per Mark Bowman), Acuna is just the latest in what is turning out to be a long list of Braves stars that are being bitten by the injury bug.

Sean Murphy was the first victim for the Braves all the way back on Opening Day. He is currently down in the minors on a rehab assignment. National League Cy Young favorite Spencer Strider went down not long after when he suffered an elbow injury that cost him his season. Ozzie Albies dealt with a fractured toe that landed him on the injured list briefly last month. And Austin Riley is still yet to come back after dealing with soreness in his ribs.

As talented as this Braves club is, no team can sustain all these types of injuries and still be one of the best in the league.

Chris Sale's performances are an ironic bright spot in a season riddled with injuries for Braves

May 8, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Chris Sale (51) throws against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning at Truist Park.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The irony in all of this is Chris Sale, who came to the Braves looking for a change of scenery after what had become a challenging last few years in Boston.

After helping the Red Sox win the World Series back in 2018, Sale signed a new five-year extension with the team prior to the 2019 season. But that season ended up being the start of all of Sale's injury problems. He finished that year with a lousy 6-11 record and an ERA of 4.40, the worst of his career.

That eventually led to him getting Tommy John surgery, which kept him out of the entire 2020 season. But even after returning in 2021, he never quite regained his form and was constantly sidelined with injuries. From 2021 until 2023, Sale made just 31 appearances.

Still, his numbers weren't overly bad. He went 11-7 with an ERA of 3.93, pitching 151 innings with 182 strikeouts and 42 walks. He just couldn't stay off the injured list.

Now, through 10 games of the 2024 season in a Braves uniform, the 35-year-old is looking again like that pitcher from 2018 that helped Boston win their last world championship.

Before Sunday's game, Sale was 3rd in the league in wins (7), 10th in strikeouts (70), 9th in ERA (2.22), 4th in FIP (2.21), 9th in WAR (1.9), and 3rd in WHIP (0.86), per FanGraphs. In six of his 10 starts, he's gone seven innings. Until Sunday, he hadn't given up a run in his last three games. But accounting for Sunday's performance against the Pirates, he's walked just 10 batters all season while striking out 78.

The Braves thought they had lost their league strikeout and wins leader in Strider, but they currently still have one in the running in Sale, who has been lights out in what has so far been a resurgence season for the veteran.

If you would have asked any Braves fan who they would have predicted to be on the injury list first or often, most likely would have pointed to Sale. Right now, he's healthy, productive, and one of the best in all of baseball.