Red Sox 2017 Review: Top 10 moments of the year

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with Mookie Betts #50 after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with Mookie Betts #50 after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Sale K’s 300

One of the most exciting aspects of the 2017 season was watching Chris Sale’s pursuit of the single-season franchise record of 313 strikeouts set by Pedro Martinez in 1999.

Sale ultimately fell short of the record but he did manage to join Pedro as the only Red Sox pitcher to strikeout 300+ batters in a season. No other AL pitcher had reached that threshold since Martinez did it in ’99.

Strikeout No. 300 came on the final pitch Sale threw in his September 20 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Boston held a comfortable lead, so with Sale’s pitch count climbing, it was quite the controversial decision to send the team’s ace back out to the mound for the eighth inning. Knowing full well that the milestone was within reach, manager John Farrell handed Sale the ball for one more inning.

After inducing a pair of groundouts to begin the inning, Sale caught Ryan Flaherty looking with a slider for strike three. The punch out gave Sale 13 for the game and assured him of the rare achievement.

Sale would make only one more start in the regular season, ending up with 308 strikeouts. It’s not a record-breaking achievement but Sale’s quest to top Pedro turned every one of his trips to the mound into must-see TV.