Chris Sale will be on the ALCS course for Red Sox
Although the Red Sox went on to win Game 2 of ALDS by a resounding margin, the game did not go off smoothly for starting bowler Chris Sale.
The left-winger, who was starting his first postseason game in three seasons, only lasted one game in a divisional round match against the Tampa Bay Rays. The AL East champions and World Championship runner-up chased a year ago, Sale early by five runs on four strokes in the opening frame, including a Grand Slam by Jordan Luplow.
But even though Sale has now started twice in a row, including the conclusion of his brief season against the Washington Nationals, Red Sox coach Alex Cora hasn’t given up on him yet.
Cora of WEEI’s Merloni and Fauria Show tells Sale that the Sox will start their ALDS games against the Houston Astros, which begin Friday night.
“He’s still on shift. It’s going to be a big part of what we’re trying to achieve,” Cora said.
The manager added that he was actually willing to put Sale in the game to shut down Rays if fortune allowed it.
“He would have probably come in with a difference of ninth, because the way he set up with the left, there were a lot of good matches for him,” Cora said. “It’s ready, it’s cool. It’s part of the spin.”
The move puts a lot of faith in the former All-Star, who recently hit some speed bumps on his return from Tommy John’s arm surgery.
Returning 5-1 in his first eight games off the injured roster, Sal struggled for control in his last game of 2021 against Washington, giving up four strokes and three rounds in 2 1/3 innings. Then disaster came against the Rays, which could have put the Red Sox on a 0-2 gap in a best-of-five series playoff.
Cora hinted that mechanical issues were to blame for Sal’s poor performance, saying the team looked into the video to find flaws to correct.
“There was a big movie shoot a couple of days ago and people were just looking at a few things, and we hope to find them,” the director said. “From now on, Chris Seal will be for us, and he will give us the opportunity to win ball games.”
The sale likely won’t be the start of the Red Sox ‘1 given the uncertainty about his performance, with the gesture likely going to Nathan Eovaldi or Eduardo Rodriguez. The left-winger has also had his struggles against the Astros, scoring 7.24 ERA in the three post-season games he’s played against Houston since 2017.
But the real sell-back – or at least the guy who entered the sixth inning or more in the 7 of 9 starts this season – gives the Red Sox a much better chance of beating the Astros and returning them to the World Championship.
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