Chris Sale has been as good as advertised through the first month of the 2017 season.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander is 1-2 with a 1.19 ERA through his first five starts in a Red Sox uniform.
Despite his brilliance, Sale has been victimized by a lack of run support as the Red Sox only have scored four total runs for Sale in the 37 2/3 innings he’s been on the mound.
Sale also has had the unenviable task of facing the opposing team’s ace in most of his starts. The same was true Thursday at Fenway Park when Sale was outdueled by New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
The Red Sox only collected three hits against Tanaka, but Sale isn’t directing his frustration toward the Red Sox’s struggling offense.
“No the only frustration is toward myself,” Sale said as seen on “NESN Sports Today.” “I know what I can do and I just have to be better. The moral of the story is that I just flat-out got outpitched.”
Tough luck also has hit the Red Sox ace as the first run that he surrendered was due in large part to a passed ball. Sale and catcher Sandy Leon got crossed up, which allowed Aaron Hicks to take third base and later scored on a sacrifice fly.
Sale, however, also took the blame for the passed ball.
“We had a good sequence and I just flat-out forgot,” he said.
Sale tossed eight innings, allowing three runs (two earned) while striking out 10 in the loss. He currently leads the major leagues with 52 strikeouts through five starts, which is the second-most ever through five starts, trailing only Randy Johnson who struck out 55 through the first five outings in 1999.
Here are other notes from Red Sox-Yankees.
— Sale also became the third Red Sox pitcher to begin his Boston career with five straight starts of seven-plus innings with two or fewer earned runs, joining Dave “Boo” Ferriss and Ernie Shore.
— After the game, the Red Sox optioned Steve Selsky to Triple-A Pawtucket and added Chase d’Arnaud to the 25-man roster.
— Thursday’s game lasted two hours and 21 minutes, making it the fastest contest between the Red Sox and Yankees since May 6, 1994, according to CSNNE’s Evan Drelich.
— After a hot start to the 2017 season at Triple-A Pawtucket, Blake Swihart has cooled considerably. The catching prospect is 0-for-20 with eight strikeouts over his last five games.
— Red Sox pitching prospect Shaun Anderson is lighting up Single-A Greenville. The former reliever has an ERA of 0.83 with 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images