If you want to know how the Red Sox fared against the Houston Astros in game 1 of the ALDS yesterday afternoon, here’s the second batter of the game, Eduardo Nunez:
Things somehow got worse from there, as Chris Sale continued his mediocre/bad second half by giving up 7 runs in 5 innings including three home runs. Heading into this series it was clear Sale was going to be the game 1 starter, but he continues to look worn down. Former big league pitcher Jim Kaat was the analyst for yesterday’s game alongside the human asshole Bob Costas, and as much I hate to hear analysts say bad things about teams I love, his analysis was spot on. Sale looked like he had a dead arm, and almost every slider he threw had no snap to it, so he was forced to try and drag it across the plate. Sale can still throw 95-98 mph with his fastball, but he’s not going to beat a lineup as good as Houston’s without an effective slider. If this series goes 5 I have to imagine Sale pitches again, but after all the innings he’s already thrown this year, he’s no longer someone to rely on.
The Red Sox offense, which was eaten up by the Indians pitching staff last year, had another ineffective postseason game. Their base running woes, which have plagued them all season, came back to haunt them in the 2nd inning. With the Sox down 2-0 in the top of the 2nd, Sandy Leon singled to shallow right center field. Mitch Moreland was scoring easily from second, but Dustin Pedroia inexplicably tried to go 1st-3rd and was thrown out by 20 feet. Luckily Moreland was hustling and scored before Pedroia was out at 3rd, but it was a beyond stupid base running play that ended the inning. Verlander, who has always owned the Red Sox, cruised through the rest of the game and helped the Astros take a 1-0 series lead.
That’s the bad news. The good news? Game 2 is only a few hours away, and while Dallas Keuchel is no walk in the park, I’ll take him 7 days a week over Verlander. Plus, Drew Pomeranz is on the hill for the Sox, and he just threw 6 innings of 3 hit, 1 run ball against the Astros last Saturday. The Red Sox need to get going early, and give Pomeranz a lead to work with. As good as the Sox have played at Fenway this year, there’s no way they can head into Sunday down 0-2.
Chris Sale Became The 2nd Red Sox Pitcher In History To Strike Out 300 Batters In A Season Last Night
Heading into yesterday’s slate of games, there had only been 34 times a pitcher had struck out 300 batters in a season. After Chris Sale’s masterful performance against the Orioles last night, that number has been changed to 35. Sale notched 13K’s last night, with his final K in the bottom of the 8th being his 300th of the season. The 300K club is an exclusive club, but what’s even more exclusive is the Red Sox 300K club. Heading into last night, here was the list of Red Sox pitchers who had struck out 300 batters in a season:
- Pedro Martinez – 313 in 1999
I’ve been known to sneak Pedro’s otherworldly Red Sox stats into everyday conversation, but referencing him is actually appropriate here. Plus, everybody knows Pedro and I are best friends:
Sale has been magnificent this year, and the feeling in Fenway when he takes the mound has had a certain Pedro feeling to it this year. With an Angels loss late last night, the Red Sox clinched a postseason berth, and the magic number to clinch the AL East is down to 8. Regardless of when the Red Sox make their postseason debut, Chris Sale will be the man on the mound looking to give them a win.