Sale strikes out 17, his second straight 14K+ start
Image via Yahoo Sports, AP Photo
Christopher Allen Sale is all the way back. After a dreadful first five starts to the season, Sale has pieced together back-to-back amazing starts. He struck out 14 in Baltimore in his last start, and the Red Sox barely won that game in extras. On Tuesday night, Sale out-did his prior start, but the Sox could not pull out the win in extra innings.
From the start of the game, it was imminent Sale had something special on his hands. He struck out the first six Colorado batters he faced. His location, velocity and whatever other issues plagued him to start the season seem to have gone by the wayside. Maybe it’s because he has his favorite catcher Sandy Leon is back. Or maybe the lack of Spring Training starts gave way to a slow start. Whatever it is, Sale has returned to his normal dominance.
Sale would go on to pitch 7 innings on 108 pitches. As mentioned earlier, last time out Sale struck out 14. He somehow outdid himself against the Rockies, striking out 17 batters over those 7 innings. The 17 strikeouts are a career high for the lefty. He had Colorado hitters missing all night, as he became the first pitcher to ever strike out 17 in 7 innings. He’s also the first Sox pitcher to do it since Pedro Martinez in 2000. If you’re ever mentioned with that guy in a sentence about pitching, you’re doing something right.
Red Sox claw out early lead with the long ball
While Sale was dealing, the Red Sox offense was utilizing the long ball to get an early lead. Michael Chavis started the home run parade with an absolute rocket over the Monster. The umps had to review it because the ball was so high up over the foul pole. Statcast had the ball traveling 451′ with an exit velocity of 111.2 mph – absurd.
Since being called up to the Red Sox on April 20, Chavis has been Boston’s go-to power bat. In 21 appearances, Chavis is hitting .289/.407/.592. His 7 home runs and 20 RBI lead the team in that span. And, for those who were concerned about his glove at second, he’s made some excellent plays in the infield. If he can limit the strikeouts, he’ll have done everything he can to earn the starting spot.
The following inning, JD Martinez and Rafael Devers each added a solo shot of their own to push the lead to 3-0 in the third. Devers’ hit streak now stands at six games. The young third baseman is hitting .481 during the streak.
The offense gave Sale early runs, while the Rockies could barely get the ball in play. Sale was cruising along – right up until the seventh. Nolan Arenado – who had a strange game at third, misplaying several balls at the hot corner – finally got to Sale. He launched a 2-run shot over the Monster to bring the Rockies within 1 of the lead.
What did Sale do to respond? Struck out the next three batters he faced to end the seventh. His night was done, however, and the ball was turned over to Brandon Workman.
Despite Sale’s dominance, Sox fall just short in extras
The Red Sox lived by the long ball early Tuesday night; they died by it late in the game. After Sale exited, Charlie Blackmon drove in two with a bomb to center off Workman in the eighth. The Rockies took a late 4-3 lead. The lead wouldn’t last all too long, however. In the bottom eighth, Mitch Moreland hit a clutch RBI single to tie the game at 4 runs apiece, pushing the game to extras.
The game reached the eleventh inning. In the top of the inning, with Ryan Brasier on the mound, the Rockies put two on the bases. Up came Mark Reynolds, and the tie was broken soon after. Reynolds drove a single to center, scoring the runner from second and putting to waste a remarkable outing by Chris Sale. The Red Sox would go on to lose, 5-4.