09 June, 2017
And, speaking of which, even on a day in which Sale clearly didn't have it, he also avoided completely unravelling at any point and the Red Sox had a lead for this entire game. Skoglund left to deafening applause when manager Ned Yost removed him with one out in the seventh. He's 28, firmly in his prime and healthy. But there's no denying the brilliance of Sale's superior strikeout rates, superb three-pitch arsenal and five All-Star appearances to go with top-six finishes in Cy Young voting in each of his years as a starter.
Sale (6-2), who spent his first seven seasons with the White Sox, allowed six runs on 10 hits in five innings - his shortest and shakiest outing this season.
Ray (5-3) struck out 10, walked none and threw 115 pitches.
The next aspect that should be examined would be the pitching, as the Boston Red Sox heading into the season boasted one of the most risky starting rotations in all of baseball.
Said Sale: "D-Mo had one of the best nights". "Listen, for his time here, he put up Hall of Fame numbers, other than maybe the win column". "I think we're ready to go on a rehab assignment here soon", he said. But at least one former teammate suspects he would have laughed if the White Sox poked fun at him in his return. It's one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball. On Tuesday night, however, they would go toe-to-toe with their former ace and now current ace of the Boston Red Sox in Sale.
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In Anaheim, Albert Pujols crunched his 599th career home run. Odds are that he will get called up later this season. With the roster and talent there, it shouldn't be surprising that the Boston Red Sox are now one of the best teams at batting across the league this far into the season. "I think he'd probably chuckle after that too". It reminds me of his overuse of Aroldis Chapman in the playoffs.
But instead of shining, Sale got lit up - and he still won. The five innings pitched were a season low. They weren't the most crisply hit singles, but Sale also had trouble putting batters away for the first time this year. His average fastball velocity is back up to 94.4 miles per hour after dipping to 92.8 last season, according to Fangraphs. He didn't address last season's suspension specifically in a pregame media session Monday, though he did say he had no regrets, even with a few "blips on the radar among a lot of really good times" while with the club. Quintana (2-6, 4.82 ERA) is coming off his worst start of the year, allowing eight runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in an 8-6 loss at Arizona on Wednesday.
"There's no question he's getting better", Cooper said. "He had it in his back pocket whenever he needed it".
Dealt to Boston last winter for a package of prospects that included highly regarded slugger Yoan Moncada, Sale was looking forward to pitching against his old friends. Instead, Marrero drove it into the left-field bleachers to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
In the end, it seemed Sale's favorite part about being back was seeing - and pitching against - his old teammates. "I'm appreciative of that, so I don't want to lose sight of that". I always had good teammates.