Boston Red Sox: A ‘fired up’ Chris Sale has Red Sox Nation at ease

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale brought a whole new definition to “Sale Day” with an impressive outing against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

It wasn’t an ordinary “Sale Day” Sunday afternoon at Camden yards for the Boston Red Sox.

After being placed on the disabled list due to some soreness in his shoulder, Red Sox fans were eager to see how Chris Sale would perform in his first start in over two weeks.  Will he be strong?  Would the AL Cy Young candidate show any signs of further concern?

Just a couple questions lurking on the minds of fans during the team’s race towards history.

Well, those questions were answered rather quickly.  In fact, it was the same ole’ “Sale Day” for the left-handed ace.  Not only was he solid, Sale was simply dominant against the Baltimore Orioles.

During the team’s 4-1 victory, which happened to complete a four-game sweep over the lowly Orioles, Chris Sale struck out 12 batters in five innings.  In doing so, the intimidating hurler made a bit of history by becoming the first Boston Red Sox player to post an ERA under 0.20 in seven consecutive starts in over a century.

Sale also became the seventh pitcher in baseball history to record 12 strikeouts in five innings or fewer.  So, guess that answered any question about his strength.  As far as his mindset on the mound, the Red Sox ace was very much motivated.

“I was fired up to get back out there.  It’s what I do, it’s my job,” Sale said, via MLB.com.  “I’m not a big fan of sitting on the sidelines.”

Rest delivers the best

Sitting on the sidelines will deliver the best Chris Sale this Boston Red Sox team will need in October.

With the team sitting with a big cushion in the American League East, Red Sox manager Alex Cora can afford to rest Sale as much as possible.

Yes, the team has done a good job at managing the powerful left hander, but the stint on the DL proves his history of wearing down during the latter part of the season.  Despite an 85-35 record, the Red Sox need a healthy Chris Sale to get past the New York Yankees or Houston Astros if they were to meet in the playoffs.

Following Sunday’s outing, it appears the velocity is still there.  Sale threw pitches of over 99 mph while on a 75-pitch limit.  Again, it was great to see, but Cora knows the team has to stick to the plan to keep Sale strong.

“Seemed like he didn’t miss a beat even being on the disabled list,” Cora said.  “But we have to be disciplined.  The way he was throwing the ball, it was very tempting for us to say, ‘One more inning,’ but we’ve been disciplined the whole season, and we stick with the plan.”

With a 9 ½ game lead in the AL East, there won’t be too many games the team will need Chris Sale to go the distance.  That could change if the team somehow began to falter over the next few weeks.  With the offense the team has and other pitchers like David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello picking up the slack, it’s unlikely the team will blow this size of a lead.

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That at least gives Alex Cora the advantage he needs to save his star pitcher.  And Sunday’s performance on the mound gives both him and the entire Red Sox Nation some ease.

Chris Sale will be just fine.