Blue Jays: Friday’s game shows that Chris Sale is beatable
Red Sox ace Chris Sale has long been considered one of the game’s best starting pitchers. With a 2.02 ERA coming to his start on Friday against the Jays, it’s not hard to see why.
Before Luke Maile’s heroic walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Friday night’s series opener at Rogers Centre, there was a quiet pitching duel. Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox went nine innings, struck out 15, and allowed three earned runs on six hits. He finished the night with a game score of 82, which Fangraphs describes as “excellent”.
Coming into Friday night’s game, Sale had an ERA of 2.02 with a record of 3-1. He, along with former Blue Jay David Price spearhead a solid Red Sox rotation that will surely serve as a thorn in the collective sides of Blue Jay hitters all season.
If last night’s game taught us anything, it’s that Chris Sale, the almost robotically efficiently hurler from Florida, is beatable. Despite striking out 15, a season high, he allowed a home run to Maile, six hits overall, and got just eight groundouts. It might not be easy, but he is beatable. Sale also faltered in the way of defense, committing his first error of the season in the second inning, allowing Teoscar Hernandez to reach base. While it didn’t result in any runs, it showed that contrary to popular belief, this man is human.
This is not to suggest that the Jays will suddenly be able to tackle Chris Sale with ease for the remainder of the season. Last night, Sale worked with stupid efficiency, throwing only 116 pitches over nine innings for an average of 13 pitches per inning. He had a brilliant breaking ball that fooled hitters all night long and showed poise and confidence on the bump.
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If anything, the Jays should cherish this victory, for it’s not every day that a team scores three runs off of Chris Sale, and it’s certainly not every day that a third-place team walks off the division leader with a two-run homer by their backup catcher.
In short, the Jays (and their fans) should not dismiss any game Chris Sale starts as a lost cause, because it’s possible to come away with the victory. On Friday night, the boys in blue simply waited him out, elevating his pitch count and making him work as best they could. Maybe next time, it’ll be a different strategy.
Either way, last night’s contest humanized the Red Sox in a lot of different ways. Even though it’s unlikely that Luke Maile will show a MVP bat in every series between these two clubs, it’s great that at this low point in the season, the Jays managed to power through a tough starter and come away with the win. On top of that, a walk-off win is always great to see.
Here’s hoping that the Jays can take one of the next two, as winning the series would surely do wonders for their confidence and morale in the clubhouse.
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