Red Sox: Chris Sale battled more than just the Rays on Saturday

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 29: Chris Sale
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 29: Chris Sale /

Lefty ace Chris Sale has more than just baseball on his mind while the Red Sox pursue a playoff spot. Sale’s family had to evacuate due to hurricane Irma.

The Boston Red Sox were very grateful that their ace, Chris Sale, remained focused on Saturday and helped secure them a much needed win. Sale pitched 6 scoreless innings and is now 16-7 on the year with a 2.76 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 195 2/3 innings. He also has 278 strikeouts and has held opposing batters to a .203 batting average.

However, despite the intensity of the American League East playoff race, Sale has his family and friends in Florida to think about first. He’s a native of Lakeland, Florida and his home with his wife and children is in Naples. Sale also has many other family members throughout Florida and as many know, hurricane Irma is hitting Florida hard.

“I think everyone knows that thing is going right where I live,” Sale said. “You think about it but at the same time you’ve got a job to do.”

Thankfully, Sale’s wife and children are currently in Boston and his parents are evacuating Florida while his in-laws stay with his sister.

“It’s tough,” Sale explained. “Everybody in my family lives out there…Everyone’s safe. Still scary. So let’s hope for the best.”

Despite this troublesome time, Sale did not let it affect his on-field performance. He allowed six hits and one walk in his 6 scoreless innings while adding eight strikeouts to his total.

His teammates made it a pretty easy game for him as well. The Red Sox took an 8-0 lead in the second inning and ended up winning 9-0. This allowed Sale and the Red Sox to take it easy in a sense and remain comfortable and Sale’s comfort is a priority considering the Red Sox want to monitor and possibly limit his workload going into the postseason.

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“He was able to pitch comfortably,” Farrell said. “So on a night where you’re hopeful to be able to cut him back a little bit, the game allowed us to do just that.”

Boston is monitoring and possibly limiting Sale’s workload because he has never pitched in the postseason before and their ace is on pace for pitching over 220 innings in the regular season. Due to their concerns, Sale was given an extra-day of rest because of their off day Thursday and he will have another extra day of rest before his next start because the Sox are off on Monday.

“Given the innings total he’s at right now, the extra day this time and the extra day next time, these are things we can hopefully take advantage of and certainly Chris,” John Farrell, Red Sox manager, said. “And the early runs were also helpful in maybe not making so much of a stressful outing through the 6 innings of work.”

Sale and the Red Sox seem to be on the same page regarding the extra days of rest and monitoring the workload.

“These are when they start tacking on,” Sale said. “So any added rest or little boost helps. Having that off day there re-energizes everybody to kind of come back and get after it.”

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Additionally, the extra days off probably helped Sale mentally while he and his family prepare for the worst in Florida. Hopefully everyone’s friends and families are safe as the country continues to battle the horrific hurricanes that have come.