The Red Sox will almost surely clinch the American League East this week at Fenway Park as they entered last night’s game against Toronto with a cozy five-game advantage in the division.
Chris Sale (17-7, 2.75 ERA) will get the ball for the Sox on Tuesday against the Blue Jays in what could prove to be his final start of the regular season. Sale is currently slated to pitch the regular season finale on Sunday at Fenway against the Astros, the team the Red Sox will likely face in the ALDS starting next week (Game 1 of the best-of-five would take place on Thursday, Oct. 5 in Houston).
It will be interesting to see how the Sox and the Astros juggle their lineups and pitching staffs this weekend in what will likely be a playoff preview. Sale, certainly the Sox’ Game 1 starter, will be toeing the line of either having too much rest or being too rusty if he doesn’t take the mound on Sunday against Houston.
Wouldn’t it be poetic if David Price, in this season of turmoil, wound up being the Red Sox’ postseason savior?
Price has been brilliant in his two outings as a relief pitcher since coming off the DL. On Sept. 17 against Tampa Bay, Price pitched two scoreless innings without surrendering a hit. This past Friday against the Reds, Price worked 2.2 innings and struck out four without allowing a run. Price even picked up the win in that one.
“He’s healthy and that’s the beauty of all this,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “All the work that he’s put in to get back to this point, and then still, I don’t want to say marvel at it, but the way he comes out and throws strikes – and quality strikes. We’re talking five innings in the past two months and that’s impressive to see the way he commands the baseball.”