Chris Sale delivered a solid outing for the Boston Red Sox in his final start of the 2023 season.

Despite taking the loss in a 1-0 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles, Sale put together a third consecutive start in which he allowed one run or less.

The veteran lefty held the Orioles to one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings and 69 pitches. At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora felt that was enough to close the book on Sale’s season.

“Yes, that was good,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Got him five and get him out. Let’s get ready for next year.”

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Cora focused on Sale’s ability to work past a first-inning solo home run from Anthony Santander and early loud contact as the southpaw changed speeds and worked efficiently.

“In the beginning, there were some loud outs,” Cora added. “I think he settled down. He’s using that fastball in different spots. Overall, a good one. Not too many swings and misses, but he pitched. We made some plays behind him. It felt good for him to go out there against those guys and get five.”

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As previously noted, Sale was more than solid in his final three starts and pitched to a 2.88 ERA in September, according to Red Sox senior manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long.

“It was nice,” Sale told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It still wasn’t enough. Obviously, a step in the right direction. Better than the last few. It would have been nice to pull this one off.”

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“I wanted to gain some momentum going into the offseason,” Sale said. “Obviously, haven’t finished a few years here now. Being able to get through it and get to the offseason healthy and not have anything to rehab. To have a normal offseason for the first time in a while is nice.”

As the winter approaches, physical strength and conditioning is the top priority for Sale to keep his body in shape for a full season and stay healthy.

“I think for me it’s lower body strength, shoulder strength and mobility,” Sale explained. “I’ve got to get my shoulder stronger, that’s for sure. It starts at the top. I think for me, it’s going to be long tossing. I just need to throw more. I’ve got a good group down there. Everybody up here will be watching. I’m excited for it. It’s the first time in a long time I’m excited for the offseason and not going into it with something. It’s a good start.”

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Entering 2024, Cora hopes for a reemergence from a once-staple of the Boston rotation.

“Now, we move forward,” Cora said. “It’s the offseason. We’ve got our plan.”

Featured image via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images