Why Alex Cora Won’t Bring Chris Sale Out Of Bullpen For ALDS Game 3

'We're not going to use him that way for health reasons'


Oct 9, 2021

Alex Cora isn’t worried about Chris Sale’s ability to start for them in the postseason.

The pitcher recently strung together two poor starts, going just one inning Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

The Boston Red Sox manager has been aggressive in managing his pitchers in the last stretch of the regular season, moving starters to the bullpen and using guys on short rest. You’d imagine, after just 30 pitches in the outing, Sale would be ready to go again out of the bullpen?

Not exactly.

“No,” Cora told reporters Saturday. “We’re not going to use him that way for health reasons.”

Sale has been used conservatively since he returned to the Red Sox rotation. Understandably so, as he spent two years rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

He struggled to find his command Friday, giving up five earned runs off four hits and a walk, despite striking out two.

“Keep working,” Cora said of what he told Sale after the start. “We’ve got to work. There’s a lot of people looking at video from now and a few years ago and all of that. He’s the first one to admit it, he needs to be better, and he’s working at it. We’ll get him right, and he’ll be ready for whenever we need him.”

Nathan Eovaldi gets the ball for Game 3 on Sunday, with Nick Pivetta set to take the mound for Game 4. If Pivetta is needed out of the bullpen, though, Sale or Eduardo Rodriguez would be considered to make the start.

The Red Sox and Rays series is tied 1-1 coming back to Boston, with first pitch set for 4:07 p.m. ET on Sunday. The game will air on MLB Network, but NESN will have pregame and postgame coverage.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
Red Sox manager Alex Cora
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