Pitcher who gets to Strut
Who else? Chris Sale has to strut the week after he became the second pitcher in franchise history to strikeout 300 batters in a season. He’s also the first AL pitcher to do it since Pedro Martinez in 1999.
Sale blanked the Orioles over eight innings on Wednesday, striking out 13 to reach the 300 milestone. The Red Sox had been monitoring Sale’s pitch counts of late to keep him fresh with the postseason approaching. That led some to believe that manager John Farrell was being reckless in sending Sale back out for the eighth inning to chase his 300th K. Farrell admitted that he was well aware of the strikeout total when he made the decision but was also factoring in Sale’s pitch count and the extra day of rest before his next start. Sale ended up throwing 111 pitches in the game, a number he’s met or exceeded 14 times this season. That’s hardly an indication that the pitcher was being overworked.
Time is running on the schedule but Sale will make at least one more start this season as he pursues Pedro’s single-season strikeout record of 313. He’ll need to strikeout 13 Blue Jays on Tuesday, which he accomplished against Toronto back in April. That’s just to tie Pedro. If Sale wants the record to himself he’ll need 14 K’s, which would be a season-high. Don’t bank on that happening.
Sale’s only realistic shot at the record is if he starts the final day of the regular season, which won’t happen unless home-field advantage in the ALDS is on the line. Even in that scenario, Boston may ultimately decide that having Sale available for two starts in the series is more important than home-field.