Chris Sale seemed to be the only certainty for the Boston Red SOx in the ALDS, but the Astros exploded for 7 runs against the ace.
Among the various questions about the Boston Red Sox rotation heading into the postseason, Chris Sale seemed to be one of few certainties.
Boston’s ace had an amazing season, but his playoff inexperience was obvious Thursday afternoon in Houston. In what could arguably be his worst start as a member of the Red Sox, the potent Astros offense jumped all over Sale in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Headed by MVP candidate Jose Altuve, the Houston offense exploded for three long balls against Sale. Another home run, which was Altuve’s third of the night, was added in the 7th inning off of right-handed reliever Austin Maddox.
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Overall, Sale allowed a total of seven ER in just a five inning outing. His lackluster performance has earned him the ugly comparison to the postseason version of David Price, who has never performed well in October.
It is easy to worry about Sale after that outing, but the Red Sox must be able to stick with him. Going against a tough lineup is no excuse, but it is hard for one to believe a player with the competitiveness of Sale will make this a trend. Price has a history of backing down in big situations and not taking the blame. Sale has already admitted he “picked a bad time to suck.”
With the uncertainty of the rest of the series, it is unclear when Sale’s next start will be. However, I would expect him to make an amazing rebound if or when it happens. What is perhaps the most frustrating, however, is that Game 1 would have been a great steal in Houston – and possibly the best opportunity that the Red Sox had of winning this series.
Sale’s postseason reputation is far from cemented. Yes, it is understandable to be angry as for the second straight year our ace has imploded in the postseason, but Sale is most definitely not Price and I would personally bank on him bouncing back strong.