Chris Sale has avoided a plague that has hit many who have come before him.
The Boston Red Sox traded for the star left-hander in December, and unlike those who have struggled during their first year in Boston, Sale has thrived.
Boston’s ace continued to mow down hitters Saturday at Rogers Centre when he turned in seven masterful innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. Sale surrendered just four hits while striking out 11 and walking one in Boston’s 7-1 win against their division rival.
But Sale isn’t just thriving in Boston, he’s putting up historic numbers for the first place Red Sox.
After torching the Blue Jays on Saturday, Sale now has 56 more strikeouts than baserunners allowed this season. And he’s on pace to set the Major League Baseball record for the best differential in a season, which Pedro Martinez (+110) set in 2000. He also has 14 starts in which he has accumulated more strikeouts than innings pitched, putting him 10 away from the Red Sox record — also set by Martinez in 2000 — and 18 away from the overall record set by Randy Johnson in 2000.
So why has Sale been so successful in a position where others have failed? Red Sox bench coach and interim manager for Saturday’s game, Gary DiSarcina, has an idea.
“I think he’s all about baseball,” DiSarcina said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “He has his family, loves his family. I don’t think he gets caught up in a lot of exterior things outside the ballpark other than being with his family. And he considers his teammates his family. So when he comes here, he’s dead set on doing one thing on days he pitches, which is put a performance up there like that and give his team a chance to win. He loves being around his teammates as well. It’s great to see. And when it’s one of your prime players who act that way, everyone else tends to fall in line.”
And as for succeeding where others have failed, the star lefty only is concerned with doing his job.
“I just try to block all that crap out, honestly,” Sale said. “I’ll let you guys talk about it, I’ve got a job to do. You’re aware of it but I just try not to focus on anything like that. I have a job to do. It’s the same as it always has been since I was a kid, strike one, strike two, and that stuff takes care of itself. I just try to stay on it and be as good as I can, on and off the field.”
And he’s been nothing short of masterful on the mound for the Red Sox.
Here are more notes from Red Sox vs. Blue Jays.
— Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch Tuesday for Triple-A Pawtucket as he continues to rehab from a dislocated right kneecap.
— Sale now has an ERA of 1.68 against the Blue Jays and an ERA of 1.13 at Rogers Centre.
— Sale threw 80 strikes for the fifth start this season Saturday. Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander is the only other pitcher to do that this season, having accomplished the feat twice.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY Sports Images