Apr. 22, 2017
Chris Sale continues dominating start, striking out 13 in Sox extra innings win over the Blue Jays
How good has Chris Sale been so far for the Red Sox? Lets just say it's really starting to have a Pedro 1998 feel to it. Sale was at his best yet again today in the rubber game of the Sox three game series against the Blue Jays. He had everything going for him, striking out 13 Jays hitters over 8 shutout innings of work. Four of his thirteen strikeouts came against Blue Jays All Star Jose Bautista, whose slow start to 2017 continues and is now batting .109 with only 1 RBI on the young season. Over his first four starts as a member of the Sox, Sale has a ERA at 0.91 with a league leading 42 strikeouts. Today marked the 3rd straight start Sale has struck out 10 or more hitters and showed that he can get stronger as the game goes. Sale struck out the side in the 7th and the first batter of the 8th.
After 8 innings, Sale's pitch count was at 102 pitches with 80 of them being strikes. He could and probably should of finished the game out in the 9th. After Xander Bogaerts hit an RBI opposite field single to finally put the Sox on the board in the 9th, John Farrell elected to go with his closer Craig Kimbrel. Coming off a day rest, Kimbrel blew his first save of the season after a 9th inning leadoff home run to Jays DH Kendrys Morales to deep center to tie the game at 1. In the 10th, Mookie Betts came up with a bases clearing double, giving the Sox a 4-1 lead. Kimbrel would settle down in the bottom of the 10th and ended up striking out 5 to push the Sox to a series win over the Blue Jays.
The Red Sox are now 3-1 in games when Chris Sale starts. Sale only has one win to show for it, proving how misleading the win-loss records for pitchers could be. Sale has been above and beyond better than his 1-1 record shows. The Sox lineup again were not scoring runs for Sale, not putting a run up until Bogaerts single in the 9th.
But even with the lack of run support, Sale still has begun the year as the most dominate pitcher in the league so far. He's showing no signs of slowing down, and gives the Sox an elite Cy Young talent every five days. There have been recent comparisons made between Chris Sale and Hall of Fame righty Pedro Martinez over the first few weeks of the season. The similarities between the two stick out, from their high intensity levels to both capable of having no-hit stuff every five days. Their numbers after each of their first four starts with the Red Sox is almost identical. Sale and Martinez both only gave up 3 earned runs after their first four starts and struck out 40+ hitters. (Sale 42, Martinez 44) The Sox were also both 3-1 in their starts and both pitchers had ERA's under one run given up per game. (Sale 0.91, Martinez 0.84)
Sale's next start will come against a team that Pedro had battled with for much of his time in a Red Sox uniform. The 10-5 Yankees will be at Fenway for the first series of the season between the all time rivals. Sale is slated to start in the second game of the three game series on Wednesday night, marking his first official start in the Sox and Yankees rivalry.