Chris Sale dominates the Pirates in his Red Sox debut
Boston Red Sox fans got a first-hand view of why the club paid such a high price to acquire Chris Sale from the White Sox in his debut.
On December 6, 2016, the Red Sox traded top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech along with Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz for White Sox ace Chris Sale. The two clubs had been linked to a deal that involved Sale for most of the 2016 season, though it never seemed quite like it would come to fruition. Talks really heated up when Sale was made available at the deadline, except the Red Sox balked at a price tag that reportedly included Mookie Betts.
Once the asking price came down, though, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wasted no time. In the span of 24 hours, he struck up a deal with the White Sox during the Winter Meetings to acquire Sale for the aforementioned group of prospects. It was, undoubtedly, the largest deal of the offseason.
Sale entered Wednesday night’s game with a 3.00 career ERA and 10.1 K/9 in 7 seasons. On somewhat of a side note, he also came in undefeated (5-0) in his first start of a season. Not the most important stat in the world, but it foreshadowed his debut performance for the Red Sox.
More from BoSox Injection
- Chaim Bloom hits back at rival execs’ criticism of Masataka Yoshida contract
- Red Sox cut bait with key Mookie Betts trade piece in latest roster move
- MLB insider hints Red Sox teardown may continue with two trades
- Division rival targeting Red Sox 2022 standout Michael Wacha
- Red Sox setting themselves up for failure by refusing to evolve with free-agent market
He wouldn’t pick up a decision, but spun seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, one walk and striking out seven. All told, he tossed 104 pitches – 69 for strikes – and induced 14 swings and misses. It was the moment we’ve waited nearly five months for and it definitely did not disappoint.
The velocity is there and spoke for itself all night, but the biggest takeaway I had from watching his start is how absolutely devastating his slider is. Whether it’s falling on a right-handed batter’s back leg or freezing lefties, it was simply unhittable. Of his seven strikeouts, four came on sliders that the Pirates couldn’t touch. Including this one to Starling Marte.
That pitch bounced in the batter’s box and was still able to fool Marte. He’s no slouch at the plate either. Sale did that to a guy that’s posted respective WRC+s of 132, 116 and 121 in the last three seasons. Nasty stuff out of the 28-year old lefty.
With his seven shutout innings, there’s no doubt that Sale lived up to the lofty expectations that came with a full offseason’s worth of anticipation. Following Rick Porcello‘s stellar 6 innings in the home opener on Monday, the Red Sox will have a formidable one-two punch atop the rotation. Oh, and they’re expected to get David Price back at some point in May.
Next: Our interview with Mookie Betts
In his debut, Sale demonstrated that he can not only handle but excel under the pressure and expectation that comes with playing for the Red Sox. Just think that we could get to see pitching like this every five days. What a year it’s going to be.