Chris Sale didn’t pitch Thursday as the Boston Red Sox earned their second straight win over the Tampa Bay Rays. But he did factor into the 4-0 victory, according to manager Alex Cora.
Speaking to reporters via Zoom after the win, Cora said Sale brought energy to the bench, spreading a message that breathed life into the Red Sox as they barreled toward the end of a four-game series against the American League East’s top team and a road trip that came amid serious COVID-19 issues.
“Chris was talking to the guys today, and he’s been saying all along ‘Nothing’s going to stop us,’ ” Cora said. “He’s been very loud in the clubhouse just letting them know it doesn’t matter what’s going on, we’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to be OK, we’re going to be OK.”
Sale did his job on the field Wednesday as the Red Sox defeated the Rays in Game 3 of the set. He lasted six innings, a season high, with two runs on six hits and three strikeouts. He threw 57 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
But it was another side of him that came out in the clubhouse Thursday, energizing his teammates to perform just as well as they did the night before. Cora said he appreciated Sale’s ability to rally the group while not losing sight of his on-field responsibilities.
“When you have guys like that that can speak up in the clubhouse but then they go out there and they perform, it’s a lot easier,” Cora said.
Overall, the Red Sox finished the road trip at 4-3.
All things considered, that’s not bad at all.