After finding his groove last start, Chris Sale already looks in mid-season form. In a breathtaking outing in Baltimore, Sale threw a perfect 7th inning.
Chris Sale has shown, yet again, why he’s worth $145 million (and more). Last night, not only did the Red Sox ace strike out fourteen, but he topped off an incredible outing with a flawless seventh inning.
Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts which came at the expense of the Orioles’ Hanser Alberto, Dwight Smith Jr., and Stevie Wilkerson. This is an incredible feat that should never be forgotten and an awfully hard thing to accomplish against any major league lineup.
Sale joins a list of only four other Red Sox pitchers to achieve an immaculate inning. Pedro Martinez, Clay Buchholz, Craig Kimbrel, and Rick Porcello. Four extremely familiar names to any Red Sox fan of the last decade or so. These are the other pitchers to throw an inning that can’t be topped.
It’s great that Sale is able to write his name into the record books like this after what he’s been through to start the year. Chris has received plenty of criticism throughout the baseball world for the lack of himself that he’s shown. Just because the velocity wasn’t there in March/April and he picked up a few losses doesn’t mean anything, and he’s proved this the last two games.
After shutting out his former team, the Chicago White Sox, last week through six innings, only allowing three hits, Sale showed everyone that there certainly is no need to worry. After a rough first month, Chris has now struck out twenty-four batters over his last twelve innings pitched – allowing just the one run in the process.
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Every time Sale comes out firing on the mound like this, it seems that it should 100% be a guaranteed win and that every batter he faces is fearing the worst for themselves. Sale picked up his first W of the year in Chicago. However, last night, after going eight strong, it’s a no-decision – something that’s haunted the ace’s record the last couple of seasons. He’s lost out on plenty of wins because of the lack of offense. This didn’t prove to be crucial last night, as Andrew Benintendi hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the twelfth inning, following an unbelievable game-saving catch from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eleventh. Benintendi’s bomb proved to be crucial, but there’s plenty of work to be done offensively.
A couple of ferocious starts was just what the doctor ordered for both Sale and the Red Sox. As the team returns to Fenway at .500 for an eight-game homestand starting Friday, this can be the lift that the Sox need to well and truly get their title defence underway.
Sale staying off the injured list will be a very crucial factor in how this Red Sox season pans out. After a bad pitching start to the year, as a whole, the Sox need their ace to be leading the line all year around. The end of the season will remain the most important, but there is no October without a great regular season, especially after the shock start that nobody expected. Boston has the potential to be great from now on. The last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the fantastic side of this team come back, bringing up great memories of 2018. This team has what it takes to do damage again and that’ll continue to start with the ace that is Chris Sale.