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.
I’m a Red Sox fan. I just wanted to get that out of the way in case you came here looking for an unbiased view on all the Red Sox/Yankee shenanigans over the last few days. To review:
The New York Times came out with an article saying that the Red Sox were using apple watches to steal signs against the Yankees during games in early August. According to their calculations, the Red Sox went 5-8 during a game in August when there was a runner on second, so the natural conclusion is that they were cheating and not, you know, professional baseball players. Did Red Sox personnel use apple watches to steal signs? It sure sounds like it. Did stealing those signs effect the outcome of the game? It’s impossible to say, which is why people overreacting, including MLB insider Jon Heyman, look so foolish. You can’t vacate wins when you don’t know the effect the sign stealing had on the games, and while using technology is a definite no-no when it comes to sign stealing, the act of stealing signs has been an accepted part of the game forever.
The Sox should face some punishment, because again, you can’t use technology to your advantage in these type of situations, but Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post brings up another good point: the MLB needs to figure out it’s relationship with technology if it wants to avoid situations like this in the future. Managers can use tablets, while players and personnel can use cellphones and other devices as long at they’re not physically in the dugout. All of those devices can be used to legally gain insight on a pitcher or hitter during the game. Add in MLB’s newfound love of instant replay and you have a sport that both embraces and bans technology, depending on the moment.
While most instances of sign stealing are dealt with between the two teams, the Yankees are in the middle of a pennant race trying to catch the first place Red Sox, which obviously factored into their decision to take this directly to the league office. If the Red Sox were a last place team, would this issue even be made public? I doubt it. The newest accusation by the Yankees is that Doug Fister was using an earpiece to relay audio to himself during his win over the Yankees last weekend. That ‘earpiece’ ended up being Fister’s mouth guard. The Red Sox and Yankees don’t play each other again in the regular season, but if they do happen to meet up in the playoffs, be on the lookout for Mookie Betts high tech brain wave reader that looks conspicuously like a baseball hat.
Whenever I tell people how often I watch baseball on TV, they all say the same thing: it’s so boring. To me, baseball isn’t boring and I could watch every Red Sox game with a smile on my face. I can certainly see why people think it’s boring though, especially with this year’s Red Sox team who seem to go out of their way to play an extra inning game at least once a week. Last night’s game, featuring a Christian Vasquez walk-off bomb, was the opposite of boring.
Any time you can win a game in August with a walk-off homer that puts you back into first place you’ll take it, but last night’s game was extra special. Let’s take a look at some of the craziness, which is a good look at why these types of games don’t happen more often. A LOT of insane stuff has to happen to create one of these magical games.
Heading into last night’s game, Chris Sale hadn’t given up a run since 7/6 against Tampa (20 2/3 innings). Sale proceeded to give up 5 runs in the first two innings last night, and 7 overall in his 5 innings of work.
The Red Sox scored 12 runs last night, but only scored in 3 of 9 innings. Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco entered the game with a respectable 3.58 ERA and hadn’t gone less than 6 innings since a 6/26 start against Texas. He gave up 5 runs in the second inning and was bounced after 1 2/3 innings.
After a two run home run by Edwin Encarnacion in the top of 5th, Hanley Ramirez led off the bottom of the inning with what looked like a home run into the Sox bullpen. Austin Jackson had other ideas.
Newly acquired setup man Addison Reed had allowed only 4 earned runs in his last 22 appearances, but gave up a home run to the first batter he faced as a member of the Red Sox. Craig Kimbrel blew only his fourth save as a member of the Red Sox, and last night was the first time this season he gave up more than 1 earned run in an appearance.
By now you know that Vasquez won it with a walk-off homer, but the only reason he batted was because of a wild pitch strikeout of Mitch Moreland with two outs in the inning. If Cody Allen doesn’t throw a wild pitch on the strikeout, the game is over. The wild pitch gave the Sox one last shot, and Vasquez capitalized. Baseball can be a beautiful thing.
Jackie Bradley Jr. Casually Making Home Run Saving Catches Continues To Be My Favorite Thing #RedSox
If you need me today, I’ll be watching that video on a continuous loop. Jackie Bradley Jr. is basically a human highlight reel at this point, and the only thing more impressive than his catches are the time of the game when he makes them. When he robbed a homerun in Oakland earlier this year, it was in the bottom of the 9th of a 0-0 game. Last night’s catch might’ve been more impressive, and it happened with a runner on in the top of 8th with the Red Sox clinging to a 3-0 lead. If he doesn’t make that catch it’s 3-2, and it’s a totally different ballgame. Unreal stuff. If I’m a pitcher on the Red Sox and I can turn around and see #19 is behind me, I know something special might be happening at some point.
Going into last night’s game, Scooter Gennett had 3 home runs and 20 RBI’s on the season. After last night’s game, he has 7 home runs and 30 RBI’s. That’s what you call a nice night at the ballpark. Gennett became only the 17th player in MLB history to hit 4 homers in a game, and only the second player to hit four homers including a grand slam. While this was certainly an impressive feat, my favorite fact about Gennett came later in the night on Twitter:
Four home runs in a game is rare, but going through life with the nickname Scooter to avoid a childhood arrest is on another level. Scooter Gennett might be my new favorite baseball player.
— Don Orsillo (@DonOrsillo) June 5, 2017
Ever since Don Orsillo was let go before the beginning of last year, something has been missing from Red Sox broadcasts. Dave O’Brien is a good announcer and does a serviceable job, but the back and forth between Don and Jerry Remy or Don and Dennis Eckersley was an event in itself. He was also a fantastic play by play announcer who had a knack for showing the perfect amount of emotion in big moments, something that every hometown play by play guy should be able to bring out from time to time. While we won’t get Don and Jerry or Don and Eck, at least we’ll get Don in some capacity for what is hopefully a great game. Houston is the best team in baseball right now and the Red Sox are finally starting to get hot, so maybe Don will get to call a couple Red Sox home runs for old times sake.
Video on social media showed Mr. Met walking down a tunnel at the ballpark, turning around and giving the middle finger to the fans. It was unclear what, if anything, the fans said to the mascot before he made the gesture. – ESPN
Poor Mr. Met. The Mets are not great this year, dropping to 23-28 after last night’s loss. The only thing worse than being a mascot is being a mascot for a shitty team, and Mr. Met finally had enough last night. I have to imagine that Mr. Met has done this countless times over the years when fans got a little too aggressive, but rule number one of existing in today’s society is to remember that EVERYONE has a camera phone. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was video of this two second incident from every angle imaginable. Left, right, center; there’s probably a bird’s eye view from someone 100 yards away. Mr. Met really should’ve just stuck up his middle of the three fingers he has instead of doing the entire gesture. That way you can get away with the excuse that you were just saying hi.
P.S. Now that Mr. Met is in the spotlight, how long until we get an article complaining that there’s no Ms. Met? I’m going to say 3 hours.
Batters when they see Kimbrel warming up
The Red Sox have been inconsistent at best this season, but when they’ve played good baseball (like their current 4 game win streak) they’ve usually included high doses of Craig Kimbrel. Here are his stats at a glance:
20 games/20.2 innings pitched 2-0 record 12 saves 6 hits 2 earned runs 2 walks 40 strikeouts 0.87ERA
That 40/2 strikeout to walk ratio is OK I guess, and the 40 K’s in 20.2 innings equals a ridiculous 17.42 K’s per 9 innings. He struck out 4 guys in an inning of work last night! The deeper you dig into Kimbrel’s stats, the more impressive they become. Right handed batters are 0-38 against Kimbrel on the season. A quick Twitter search of Kimbrel’s name reveals some truly amazing recent stats as well:
Craig Kimbrel has struck out 40 of 72 this season, 20 of the last 30. Has retired 32 of the last 34 batters he has faced. 0.87 ERA.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 26, 2017
Over his last 8 appearances, Craig Kimbrel has faced 27 batters and struck out 19 of them. That’s 70.4%. The man is a sicko.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 26, 2017
With John Farrell finally switching up the lineup, the dominance of Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel and the hopeful reemergence of David Price, this could be a really fun summer for Red Sox fans.