Chris Sale has made a pretty strong impression in his first season with the Boston Red Sox. That continued on Friday as the 28-year-old left-hander recorded his eighth consecutive start with at least 10 strikeouts.
Entering the game, Sale had been one of only two pitchers in MLB history to previously notch at least 10 strikeouts in eight straight appearances, along with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Now he’s the first to do it twice after striking out exactly 10 Oakland A’s over seven innings.
Now Sale will seek to become the first pitcher to notch nine consecutive double-digit strikeout outings when he faces the Texas Rangers next week at Fenway Park.
It should also be noted that Martinez actually accomplished that feat in 10 starts between Aug. 19, 1999 and April 9, 2000, but his overall streak was interrupted by a one-inning relief appearance on Oct. 2, 1999.
Sale ended up taking a no-decision in the game, which Boston lost 3-2 in extra innings. He dealt with traffic early and often, but managed to get through seven innings with just two runs allowed on seven hits.
For the second time during his streak, Sale did not issue a walk. That helped keep his pitch count manageable, but Sale still needed to strike out the final two batters he faced to get to 10.
Sale’s previous streak took place from May 23 to June 30 in 2015. During that stretch he struck out 97 batters over 60 innings. The streak ended with a six-strikeout outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, though Sale ended up earning a complete-game victory that night. He would strike out 10 in his following outing, but only reached double digits three times after the All-Star break.
During his current streak, Sale is up to 88 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings.
In fact, the only outing Sale hasn’t reached 10 strikeouts in a Red Sox uniform was his first on April 7 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That, too, was a no-decision despite seven scoreless innings.
Sale’s season high for strikeouts is 13 against the Blue Jays on April 20.
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