Hi there, Red Sox Nation. Is everyone okay today? Did we all survive the gutting Opening Day loss yesterday? We did? Good. Despite the let down of losing, there are positives to take away from yesterday’s game, the main one being Chris Sale’s start.
Sale looked very good. 6 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 9 K’s is exactly the type of stat line we’d like to see from him every start. His stuff looked good, hitting around 95-96 mph on his fastball (his fastest was 98 mph, once), and he used all of his pitches in all situations, including more than a couple of first pitch sliders/changeups. He was oozing confidence on just the first day of the season. That’s not to say he was perfect, though.
He did struggle with his command at times. Only 54 of his 92 pitches went for strikes, and he missed the plate far left on at least 7 occasions by my count (5 times in the 3rd inning alone). You can chalk that up to a little early season rust, something that Sale will almost certainly shake off and move past as the year goes on.
All-in-all it was an encouraging performance. It seems as though Sale is locked in and ready to go, willing and able to lead this rotation by example.
Lastly, for all of you already calling for Alex Cora’s firing for his decision to not trot Sale out to begin the 7th inning, Cora said in Spring Training that the Red Sox will make a conscious effort to not overwork him early on in an effort to combat his historical late season fatigue issues. 92 pitches may be a little low to warrant a pull, but it’s clear that Cora and co. have a plan and are determined to stick to it.