Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Oct. 12, 2018 – Source: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox received some unfortunate news prior to their Game Four matchup with the Houston Astros. Team ace Chris Sale reportedly will not start Game Five against the Astros, as a recent stomach illness has left him too weak to throw a bullpen session.
Chris Sale To Miss Game Five Start
Chris Sale pitched the series opener against the Houston Astros, but he didn’t look like his dominant self. Sale struggled all game, pitching just four innings while allowing two runs. He walked four batters, couldn’t locate his slider, and lacked his patented velocity for most of the game.
Most assumed that something wasn’t right with Sale, and those hunches were proved correct. Sale ended up in the hospital for a stomach infection just one day after his ALCS start. While he was discharged Tuesday to rejoin the team, he’s still not up to full strength. Even though he won’t be starting Game Five, the Red Sox still hope Sale can start Game Six, if required.
With Sale officially not taking the mound, the Red Sox need to decide on a Game Five starter. With Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello both pitching in the previous two days, the only options appear to be sending out a rested Eduardo Rodriguez or sending out David Price on three days’ rest. Asking Price to start in such a short timespan is probably asking too much, so Rodriguez will likely see the mound.
As mentioned in a previous post, Eduardo Rodriguez has struggled immensely against the Houston Astros and playoff teams in general. That said, Rodriguez did pitch a scoreless inning of relief in the Red Sox Game Three win over Houston.
Look for the Red Sox to have a short leash with Rodriguez and pull him at the first sign of trouble. While it’s not ideal, the Red Sox bullpen has shown borderline elite form in the playoffs. Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier can all go more than one inning, and each player has yet to allow an earned run. Hopefully, Rodriguez can give Boston at least four solid innings, but look for the bullpen to pick up the slack in Game Five.