The Boston Red Sox have taken it slow with Chris Sale ever since the left-hander made his first start of the season in mid-August.
Sale, who moved to 5-0 after Boston’s 12-5 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday, has yet to pitch into the seventh inning. He’s went five innings or less in five of his seven starts, including against the Mets in which he gave up two runs on six hits while striking out eight.
But Sale isn’t worried about not having extended appearances with Boston narrowing down on a potential playoff spot. He knows he’s more than capable of going deeper into games, throwing more pitches and everything else that a successful postseason stretch will ask of its ace.
“There?s no doubt. I don’t have any reserve or question in my ability to pitch into later innings or higher pitch counts,” Sale said after the game. “I train for this. This is what I prepare myself for on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. When we get to crunch time and that’s what’s called upon, we’re going to do it. I got too much love and respect for these guys at the top to question. I know what the plan is and where we’re at and what we’re trying to accomplish but, like I said, when that time comes we’ll handle it.”
Essentially, it’s not something that Sale feels he needs to further ramp up.
“Once those lights flick on it’s a different breed, it’s a different ball game,” Sale said. “I can find adrenaline in some unique places so I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that, or anybody else in this clubhouse for that matter.”
The Red Sox extended their win streak to seven games Wednesday and took a two-game lead for the first American League wild-card spot in the process.
Boston will return to Fenway Park on Friday to kick off a three-game series with the New York Yankees.