There is usually a caveat attached to describing Chris Sale.
“Best Red Sox pitcher SINCE Pedro Martinez.”
“Best left-handed pitcher in baseball SINCE Randy Johnson.”
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The way things are going for the Red Sox ace this season though, he may soon prove to be incomparable.
Pitching a one-hitter against the Orioles Sunday in his return from a stint on the disabled list, Sale completed the greatest seven-game stretch in history by a Boston hurler. In his last seven games, Sale has a remarkable 0.20 ERA with just six walks and a whopping 79 strike outs.
“It was awesome. I was fired up to get back out there,” Sale said of Sunday’s 4-1 Red Sox win in Baltimore. “It’s what I do. It’s my job. I’m not a big fan of sitting on the sidelines.”
August was around the time when Sale started to wear down last season, so the Sox were extra careful with him a couple weeks back when he had minimal shoulder inflammation. That time off might have been just what he needs to be 100 percent ahead of this year’s postseason.
“The only thing I was really worried about [coming off the disabled list] was my command,” Sale said. “But I felt normal. I felt strong. I only go out there once a week so to be on the DL is not fun.”
Sales’ command was hardly an issue Sunday against the O’s. In fact he was pin-point. He threw 68 pitches total with 48 of them being strikes.
As great as Sale was, the Sox bullpen again had issues. Ryan Brasier had to bail out Tyler Thornburg as Thornburg allowed a hit and a pair of walks in relief of Sale.
Brasier got the Sox out of a huge jam in the sixth, striking out Trey Mancini on a 3-2 slider with the bases loaded.
Craig Kimbrel also had a relatively rough outing as he allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth before earning the save.
The Sox did get some positive results out of their pen in Baltimore, however, as Drew Pomeranz looked good in his return to relief duty. He pitched three total innings between Friday and Saturday night and gave up just one hit while allowing zero runs.