Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale’s return comes at a pivotal time

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 15: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox looks on after the Red Sox defeat the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 at Fenway Park on August 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 15: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox looks on after the Red Sox defeat the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 at Fenway Park on August 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Red Sox have their ace back with Chris Sale’s return to the mound

Last Saturday, Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale made his first start in two years. Sale missed the entirety of the 2020 season after injuring his elbow late in the 2019 season, ending up in the lefty requiring Tommy John surgery.

Sale pitched five complete innings against Baltimore, as he struck out eight Orioles, giving up just two earned runs, which came off of back-to-back homers in the third inning. It may not be the Chris Sale we’re used to seeing, but that’s a good start off the back of what he’s endured.

Sale’s return to the rotation comes at a very pivotal time in this Red Sox season. After starting the year incredibly strong, things are now starting to catch up with them. After getting swept in the Bronx this week, the Red Sox now sit in third place in the American League East, 1.5 games back of New York, and a sickening 6.5 games behind Tampa Bay.

A month ago, the Sox looked primed to return to the postseason. However, there is now plenty of work to be done. The Sox will have a very legitimate chance of making it still, which would more than likely be as a wild card team at this point, but things have to turn around quickly.

Adding Sale gives the Red Sox a much sturdier rotation. With Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nathan Eovaldi as your front three guys, you’re going to be able to be in a strong position on any given night. After a day off Thursday, the Red Sox return to Fenway for a six-game homestand against Texas and Minnesota. Sale will be on the mound in the opener against the Rangers, and the Sox lineup will be very relieved to see this, after scoring just five runs over 23 innings at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers have one of the worst records in the majors, and the upcoming three-game series against them should not prove to be too much of a tough task for the Sox – especially when Sale and the two other aforementioned pitchers will take the mound. The games against the Rangers are must-win games for this reason.

The Yankees play the Twins in a series which they should win, whilst the Rays face the White Sox in a blockbuster series. The Sox just need to beat who’s in front of them in order to maintain any chances in the division and keep up the momentum in the wild card chase.

The wins need to start pouring back in now. There’s just over a month of the season to go, and the gap of 6.5 will slowly become to look a lot bigger unless the Sox do their bit to close it. The Rays look to have found the form that saw them go all the way to the Fall Classic last time out, and the Yankees have had the bit of resurgence that they’ve been desperate for all season.

The Red Sox started out fast, but they need to end the season in the same way if they’re to give this season the finale that it has deserved for so much of it. They were far from one of the favorites before the start of the season, and that’s completely understandable after the last two years, but this squad is still one of the top in the game, adding Sale back to an already decent rotation gives the final boost this team needs to pick it up and finish off the season in style.

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There were no real expectations for the postseason and beyond with this ball club this year, but after the first half of the season, it would be a bit disappointing if they didn’t at least make it and make a real run at things.