Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale, the bona fide ace, powers Sox past Twins

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 26: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 26: Chris Sale /

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale recorded his 10th victory of the season in a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Twins Monday night at Fenway Park. 

In yet another high quality start, Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale stood tall on the mound and took care of the Minnesota Twins to get his team back on the winning track.

Like a bona fide ace does, Sale showed toughness against a team he has struggled against in the past.  In 6 1/3 innings, the dominant left-handed pitcher recorded nine strikeouts while giving up just the one run on four hits and two walks.

With the nine strikeouts, Sale leads the big leagues with 155, which has him on path to create some Boston Red Sox history.  According to, He is just 31 Ks short of striking out the most batters of any Sox pitcher prior to the All-Star break.  That would put him ahead of both Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.

The stopper

But, beyond the strikeouts, Sale has been most impressive in his ability to lead the team to victory after loses.  Like any ace, when the team is struggling, the tall, imposing pitcher has put together a nice trend of winning ball games following a Red Sox loss.  He is 6-2 in such games and it all starts with rhythm and keeping his team in games when the offense is struggling.

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"“Felt good,” Sale said following the game, via WEEI.  “Just trying to as usual, find a rhythm, get in a groove.  And when your guys score early for it’s nice, settles you down a bit, allows you to go out and throw some strikes.  We take a lead early and hit a little bump in the road there.  I gave up a ball that might have hit the freeway.  But we struck with it and clutch hitting there in the end.  Kept rolling.”"

Confidence in his bullpen

Staked with a quick 2-0 lead, Sale went deep into the game holding a one-run lead.  Despite putting the tying run in scoring position in the seventh inning, the Boston Red Sox ace ended his night with a strike out.

Impressively, the bullpen came in to hold the lead and the Sox bats woke up to produce two more runs to keep Boston on pace with the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

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Although Sale was disappointed he couldn’t finish what he started, Sale praised his bullpen guys for picking him up when he ran into a bit of trouble.

"“Heath [Embree] picked me up in the seventh,” Sale said.  “[Matt] Barnes slammed the door there and handed the ball to Craig [Kimbrel] and we all know what he does.  Very confident in the guys down there.”"

Overall, the performance improved Chris Sale’s record to 10-3 on the season.  As the top man in a rotation that has struggled with both consistency and injury, he is proving his worth on a team still trying to find its niche entering the middle part of the season.

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