Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (Oct. 8, 2017 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox finally got a well-pitched game by a starter, but the Red Sox bats could do nothing with it. The Oakland Athletics narrowly escaped Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night. Mike Fiers out-pitched Chris Sale in what ostensibly can be described as a pitcher’s duel.
Fiers pitched six innings of no-run baseball compared to Sale’s six inning of one-earned run baseball. Sale, despite not allowing a single run, made the most headlines. After a very disappointing Opening Day performance, the lefty frequently saw his fastball below 90 mph on Tuesday.
According to Fangraphs, Sale’s fastball averaged 89.6 mph against the A’s on Tuesday. For reference, his average fastball velocity was 94.7 mph in 2018. This is very reminiscence of his start to the 2018 season, and there actually was a game against the Orioles in April 2018 when he averaged 89.5 mph.
On Tuesday night, he only allowed three hits, but his strikeout to walk ratio was one to two. He walked more guys than he struck out. That is not ideal. The only run he gave up was off a Matt Chapman solo-homer in the first inning.
It was the offense that completely stagnated, as they were an unsightly 0-7 with runners in scoring position. They actually outhit the A’s seven to three, but could do nothing once runners got on base.
The narrative of this game could have been very different had Xander Bogaerts 9th inning centerfield blast been hit slightly more to the left. It bounced off the 388 mark on the centerfield wall, but, if it had been a couple inches to the left, it undoubtedly would have been a solo-shot to tie the game. Instead, Bogaerts tried to stretch the extra-base hit into a triple, and was thrown out by a tick. Moral of the story: don’t run on Ramon Laureano‘s arm.