Prior to Sunday’s split-squad action against the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Chris Sale will get the start for Boston on Opening Day in Seattle on March 28th.
Fresh off a seven-strikeout performance in his spring debut yesterday, Sunday’s announcement marks the second consecutive season the ace left-hander will make his first start of the year in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day.
This bit of news was originally supposed to be revealed by Cora following Saturday’s win over the Atlanta Braves, but he decided to hold out and add some drama to what appeared to be a pretty easy choice to make.
Entering his eighth full major league season, Sale owns a 1.93 ERA while fanning 32 over 28 innings in four previous Opening Day starts with both the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
In five career appearances (four starts) at T-Mobile Park against the Mariners, the left-hander has surrendered six earned runs and struck out 44 over 29.1 innings of work.
As things are currently lined up with the Red Sox going to a six-man rotation to start their 2019 season, it appears as though Sale will also be getting the start for the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 9th at Fenway Park.
Regarding how the remainder of Boston’s rotation will fill out to at least start the season, that is not yet known due to David Price being scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday because of an illness.
Sale, 29, went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and 13.5 K/9 in 32 games started for Boston in 2018.
His next and what should be final Grapefruit League start will more than likely come against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park on Thursday.