Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale was ejected from Wednesday’s game for venting his frustrations about the strike zone to the home plate umpire.
Chris Sale is a passionate guy. Sometimes his emotions can boil over, leading to him venting frustrations that occasionally can be directed at umpires. One such tirade got the ace of the Boston Red Sox tossed from Wednesday afternoon’s start.
Well, sort of. Manager Alex Cora was already giving Sale the hook after he walked the first two batters of the seventh inning. Sale gave home plate umpire Brian Knight an earful on his way back to the dugout, forcing the umpire to eject him from a game he’d already been removed from.
Sale kept yapping from the dugout, ensuring he got his money’s worth.
Maybe he was upset that he wasn’t allowed to finish what he started after blanking the Baltimore Orioles through the first six innings. From the looks of it, Sale’s anger sure seemed tied to Knight’s strike zone.
Maybe Sale had a point.
The last pitch he threw for ball four to Craig Gentry looked well outside. It’s doubtful that this was the pitch that set him off. It was a compilation of bad calls over the course of his outing that ticked him off. He simply waited for the opportune moment to erupt once he knew his start was over.
Strike zones may vary slightly from umpire to umpire. At least a few of those pitches that were called a ball should be obvious strikes no matter who is calling the game from behind the plate. There were several borderline calls that didn’t go Sale’s way. It seems he caught the edge of the zone several times where he wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt. You could argue either way in some of those cases, but as Dennis Eckersley would say, as a pitcher you “gotta have it!”
Sale matched a season high with four walks. Only one would do damage, as the first batter he faced in the seventh would come around to score after Brandon Workman took over on the mound. Sale struck out nine and only allowed one earned run. Another brilliant outing for the ace.
Only Chris Sale would get this upset over an outing in which he left with a 5-0 lead. Can you blame him? The walks drove up his pitch count to 109 with nobody out in the seventh, resulting in his outing ending prematurely. Sure, the Red Sox would hold on to win. It still puts more of a workload on the bullpen. As the ace of the staff, Sale prides himself on going deep into games to carry that burden himself.
You can make the case that Sale may have overreacted a bit. We could have gone without the F-bombs in the family-friendly environment of a day game. He’ll probably get fined for that. Fair enough. Red Sox fans still admire seeing that type of fire from their ace. Never change, Chris.