By: Jake Perda
1. Chris Sale has the perfect attitude for pitching in Boston.
The highly anticipated debut of Chris Sale in a Red Sox uniform has come and gone, and it did not disappoint. Sale went 7 innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 7 Pirates. This may just be me getting caught up in the moment, but I haven’t seen this kind of electric stuff from a Red Sox starting pitcher in at least a decade. Temperatures were around 30 degrees for most of the game, but it didn’t matter.
Sale topped out at 98 mph on the radar gun, and his slider was other-worldly. But the true icing on the cake was watching Sale become visibly upset after issuing his first walk of the game with 2 outs in the 7th inning. He had absolutely dominated to that point in the game, yet the mere thought of allowing a runner to reach base safely warranted a solid screaming match between Chris Sale and….. Chris Sale. This man was made for Boston.
2. The Red Sox Bullpen is a lot better than people think.
I wrote an article during the offseason about how the Red Sox Bullpen deserves some attention, and they’ve spent the first two games proving me right. Over the first 2 games of the season, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel have combined to toss 7 ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while allowing just 4 hits and 1 walk. When Wednesday night’s game turned into a battle of the bullpens, I liked the Sox chances. Putting my hatred for Fernando Abad aside, I can’t think of one person in this bullpen that I wouldn’t have felt good about giving the ball had extra innings continued. If John Farrell can use them in the right situations, I like the looks of this bullpen even without Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith.
3. Sandy Leon is off to a HOT start (again).
As the leader of the Christian Vazquez bandwagoners, it hurts to see that Sandy Leon has been the Red Sox best hitter through 2 games. Nonetheless, the thought of getting some offensive production from the catcher's positions for a full season feels pretty good. Sandy currently leads the team in Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI’s, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, OPS, and Hits. You don’t have to be a statistical guru to figure out that that’s pretty damn impressive. Taking this into consideration, I’ve decided to accept Sandy Leon as the victor of the starting catching job (for now). As much as I wish it were Vazquez having this success, you can’t argue with the fact that Sandy Leon has been the hottest hitter in this lineup, and it will be a HUGE boost to this offense if he can consistently produce from the bottom of the lineup.
P.S. Pablo Sandoval is currently 1-8 with 4 K’s, a walk, and 2 errors. But please, continue trying to convince me that Spring Training statistics are relevant.