With Chris Sale taking the mound, the Red Sox had every reason to be confident that they could get the win against the Orioles on Sunday. Although the Sox were able to get a 7-3 win over the O’s, Chris Sale was not the player who stood out during this victory.
Despite an uncharacteristic first inning in which he was tagged for 3 earned runs, Chris Sale was able to settle down and deliver another quality start. I said the same thing following his last start in Chicago: the difference between an ace and a good pitcher is that when they do not have their best stuff, an ace will keep you in the game. This was clearly not Sale’s most dominant outing in a Red Sox uniform, but he was able to go 6 innings and hold a powerful Orioles lineup to 3 runs while striking out 9 batters. If this were Drew Pomeranz on the mound, we’d all be stoked about these numbers. But it’s not Drew Pomeranz; it’s Chris Sale. Therefore, this is start is nothing special, but it was good enough to get the win. Speaking of which, the Red Sox are now 8-3 in games that are started by Chris Sale. In those 3 losses, the Sox averaged 1 run per game. In other words, Chris Sale is the real deal, and we all need to appreciate what he has done for this team thus far.
Blaine Boyer, Robby Scott, and Matt Barnes combined for 3 innings of scoreless relief. Coming into Sunday, the Red Sox bullpen ranked 4th in the MLB with a 3.04 ERA in 163 innings this season. That’s pretty damn impressive considering that Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith have yet to throw a regular season pitch in 2017.
The Red Sox have an off-day on Monday before heading to Yankee Stadium for a 3 game series with Aaron Judge and the first place Yankees. The game that I have highlighted as must-watch is the third game of this series. Since the Sox have an off-day on Monday, they will likely start David Price on Thursday as opposed to bringing someone up from Pawtucket to make the start. The Yankees shelled Price nearly every time that they faced him last year, but this isn’t the same David Price that we saw in 2016. Price pitched with some swagger his last time out, and maybe this new demeanor can help him get the monkey off of his back that is the New York Yankees. I have a feeling that whichever team gets better performances from their starting pitchers will win this series. With Pomeranz, Porcello, and Price set to take the mound, there is some serious potential for the Red Sox to gain some ground in the division.
Photo: (The Boston Globe)