Sale tosses 12 K gem as Red Sox keep on streaking
(July 10, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox are on an absolute tear right now. With the offense clicking on all cylinders, any decent starting pitching performance has been sufficient enough for a win recently. Boston got so much more than they needed from Chris Sale on Wednesday night, as Sale is enjoying his best stretch of his season so far.
Sale endured his worst start back on May 27 against the Braves in which he only went 4.1 innings, giving up 6 earned runs on the way to a loss. Since then, however, Sale has been back to his normal, dominant self. He’s gone at least 6 innings in each of his starts since May 27. Since that start, his ERA has shrunk from a 3.00 to 2.23, the fifth lowest in the MLB. And to make his numbers look even better, his last 7 starts have been nothing short of lights out:
In his last 7 starts, Chris Sale has a 0.94 ERA, 78 K, and 10 BB.
Sale has recorded 11+ strikeouts and 1 or 0 BB in 5 consecutive starts, extending the longest such streak in MLB history.
He has allowed 0 HR in his last 51.0 IP.
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) July 12, 2018
Absolutely filthy. In the third and final game of Boston’s July series against the Texas Rangers, Sale went 7 strong innings and struck out 12, his second outing in a row with just as many K’s. He only surrendered 6 hits and just one walk, and had Rangers hitters looking silly, especially with his slider.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 12, 2018
With the way he’s been pitching recently, Sale has made himself out to be a top candidate for the A.L. Cy Young race. Being able to rely on one of the best starting pitchers in the game today is going to be a huge luxury for the Red Sox down the stretch.
4 runs was most certainly enough for Sale against the Rangers. The Sox opened up the scoring in the the bottom of the second when Eduardo Nunez scored on a Texas throwing error. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, with Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi on, J.D. Martinez drove in his league leading 78th and 79th RBI with his 22nd double on the year, giving the Sox a 3-0 lead. Two at-bats later, Xander Bogaerts drove in J.D. with a triple, a misplayed ball in shallow left center. The Rangers’ defense was their own undoing on the night, as they committed two errors and gave up 2 runs on misplayed balls.
After Sale exited in the seventh, Heath Hembree came on in with a 4-0 lead in the top of the eighth and proceeded to give up two quick runs. The first came on a Nomar Mazara RBI single, scoring Elvis Andrus from third. Then, after loading the bases, Hembree walked in the second run of the innings. That’s when Craig Kimbrel stepped in. He’s also been absolutely lights out in his recent appearances. Since the beginning of June, Kimbrel has logged 12.2 innings of work. In that span, he’s registered 24 strikeouts to just 4 hits, giving up only 2 earned runs. That stretch has been good for a 1.42 ERA and 10 saves while holding his opponents’ batting average to just .098. In those appearances, the Red Sox have not lost a game, going 12-0.
This type of performance continued against the Rangers. He came on with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 8th and struck out Joey Gallo. Then, in the top of the 9th with a 2 run cushion, Kimbrel struck out the side, earning him his 28th save on the year. Being able to start a game with Chris Sale and close out with Kimbrel seems unfair at this point.
The Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball right now. They’ve won nine in a row and have the best record in the MLB at 65-29. Their winning ways have given them a 3.5 game lead over the Yankees in the A.L. East, the highest divisional lead they’ve held since April 26. The only thing that’s gone wrong for the Sox recently is Benintendi missing out on the All-Star final vote. It’s been fun to see the team put so much effort behind the #VoteBenny movement, and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t successful.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 10, 2018
Fun is certainly the way to describe this Red Sox team and they way they’ve been playing. They look to continue the fun when they open up their final series before the All-Star break, as they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to Fenway for a four game series.