Red Sox: Chris Sale makes his team debut against Pittsburgh Pirates
By Sean Penney
Prized offseason acquisition Chris Sale makes his highly anticipated debut for the Boston Red Sox tonight at Fenway Park.
It’s Chris Sale Day, as the new co-ace of the Boston Red Sox rotation makes his team debut tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park.
Sale’s outing marks the most anticipated debut for a Red Sox pitcher since… well, Opening Day last season when we got our first regular season look at David Price.
Boston didn’t need to shell out $217 million to reel in Sale, although they did surrender a massive bounty of top prospects to pry him away from the Chicago White Sox. That makes the cost to acquire Sale arguably more than what it took to sign Price, raising the stakes for the star lefty to succeed in his first season in Boston.
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If there’s any pitcher in the American League up to the task of meeting the lofty expectations of Red Sox fans, it’s Sale. The five-time All-Star owns a 3.00 career ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 10.1 K/9.
Pitching under the microscope of the Boston media is a different animal from what Sale was used to in Chicago, where he played for a team that never made the postseason during his seven seasons. He’ll need to adjust to a new environment, but Fenway Park isn’t completely foreign to him. Sale has made six career starts at Fenway, where he’s 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA. While that may pale in comparison to his career numbers, keep in mind he won’t have to face the Red Sox offense anymore.
The lineup he’ll square off against tonight is a Pirates team he’s never faced before. There’s no track record to draw predictions from, but Sale is 6-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 career appearances in Inter-League play.
After Rick Porcello took care of business against Pittsburgh on Opening Day, Sale will look to keep pace with the reigning Cy Young to keep Boston at the top of the AL East.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Fans in attendance will want to bundle up for the chilly New England weather, but it’ll be worth it to witness Sale on the mound for the first time in a Red Sox uniform.
For more about the Red Sox vs Pirates, check out our series preview!