Without a question, Chris Sale has lived up to every expectation that was set upon him before the season. He has been the gold standard of starting pitching, the bona fide ace of this rotation. The only problem with Sale’s starts have been things that he has no control over, like managing and offensive production. On Tuesday though, the Red Sox offense surprisingly helped Sale out by scoring five, count them, five runs. It’s not like Sale needed all those runs, though. Sale set the mood early, striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced. The most dramatic moment of the game came when Sale was on the mound and Manny Machado was at the plate. We all know what’s been going on recently, and Sale continued that trend by zipping a 98 MPH fastball past Machado’s rear end. This caused a warning to be issued to each bench, and Sale actually struck out Machado that same at-bat. Machado would get his revenge though, in the top of the seventh when he took Sale deep to lead off the inning. It was apparent that Machado took his time rounding the bases, and hopefully that doesn’t add any more fuel to this weird fire. Overall, Sale finished with a line of 8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 11 Ks, his fifth consecutive game with 10+ K’s. Craig Kimbrel would come in for the save in the ninth, and that’s exactly what he did, getting the Orioles in order while striking out one.
Like I said, the Red Sox offense actually scored for Chris Sale. The five runs the Red Sox scored in the eight innings Sale pitched is more than they had scored in the previous 38 innings Sale pitched (3). Hanley Ramirez is getting hot, folks. Four home runs in the last four games, including two on Tuesday, is proof that the power is coming back, which is what this offense needs. Mitch Moreland hit another double on Tuesday, giving him his league leading 13th double of the season, so shouts to Mitchy Two Bags. How about JBJ, huh? I love watching him play center field, but he can’t buy a hit right now. Another hitless day has lowered Bradley’s batting average to .184. One of the things I liked about last year’s Red Sox team was the production that came from the bottom of the baiting order. This season though, we got Sandy Leon and JBJ hitting a combined .190, which doesn’t really help this offense. I definitely think Christian Vazquez is capable of taking the reigns of the starting catcher job, but with JBJ, I don’t know if the Red Sox have better options, given the defense he provides.
Now that we’ve talked about the game, let’s talk about what happened after. In the clubhouse, Manny Machado was asked about getting thrown out, and he was not happy about what had happened:
Lot of F bombs in there, and apparently, Machado has lost all respect for the Red Sox organization. So, if you wanted the Red Sox to sign Machado in a few years, I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen. He’ll probably be wearing pinstripes. When Sale was asked about all this, he responded by saying, “Whatever, man. Not losing sleep tonight.” It will be interesting to see if Buck Showalter, or Machado, or whoever decides to respond to this.
14 down, 80 to go.
Lastly, it’s not baseball-related but I just wanted to give a shout out to Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas. What he’s been doing in the playoffs has been nothing short of extraordinary, given the circumstances. We just witnessed one of the best playoff performances from a Celtic, 53 points in a double OT win to take a 2-0 series lead over the Wizards. So, keep doing you Isaiah, and stay strong.