As it turns out, Chris Sale is not Superman. However, no one can deny that he’s having one hell of a season. In a bid to become the first pitcher in the modern era to post double-digit strikeouts in 9 consecutive starts in a season, Sale fell shy, fanning 6 through 7 ⅓ innings yesterday against the Rangers.
After striking out 3 of the first 6 batters he faced, it appeared that Sale was on track to break the record. But history was not to be made at Fenway Park Wednesday night. After holding the Rangers hitless through 5 ⅔ innings, Mike Napoli sent a shot deep into the Monster seats in the left-center field putting Texas up 2-1. The Rangers would add on another run in the 5th leaving the Red Sox trailing by 2 late in the game.
But in a rare display of run support behind Chris Sale, which has been noticeably lacking this season, the Red Sox offense came alive in the 7th. Sparked by a leadoff single by Sam Travis making his major league debut, the Sox combined for 7 runs on 5 hits. Taking on one run apiece in the 8th, the Red Sox would go on to pick up their third win in a row with a final score of 9-4.
“Seven runs right there. The guys pulled through in a game where I was probably pretty mediocre.” Sale said after the game. If the Boston offense can keep their pace (32 runs, 39 hits over last 3 games) Sale’s “mediocre” pitching will continue to win games.
And if you think Sale’s performance thus far has been a fluke, consider this: no pitcher has more strikeouts (1,233) through 158 starts since 1893, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Keep up the mediocrity, Chris!
The Rangers and Red Sox conclude their 3-game series tonight in Boston. Nick Martinez (1-2) will take the hill for Texas facing Drew Pomeranz (3-3) starting at 7:10 PM EST.
Andy Ouellette, Baseline Times MLB Contributor