Sale Day is a reality once again at Fenway Park as the ace is scheduled to take the mound for the first time in over two years against the Orioles. The return of Chris Sale from Tommy John surgery is critical because Boston needs a shutdown starting pitcher back in the rotation.
The club has survived this season with Nathan Eovaldi as the ace. Eovaldi has been reliable, but he is by no means a pitcher to hang your hat on in October. The team needs Chris Sale, and there is no better time for him to return than in a critical game against the Orioles.
With Tampa Bay lengthening their division lead and the Yankees rolling, the Red Sox need every win they can collect.
Chris Sale is a Needed Boost
Chris Sale is not expected to pitch many innings in his debut, but anything is better than nothing for the franchise. If Sale throws two innings, he is still on the road to being the October ace, which is essential for the club.
On Wednesday, substitute ace Nathan Eovaldi was asked about what Sale’s return will mean for the club.
“Honestly, I could care less if he gives up ten or throws a shutout the entire game. It’s going to be great to have him out there.”
Xander Bogaerts was asked the same question, and he gave a similar answer.
“Help is on its way. It’s going to be fun when he gets on the mound. He’s a warrior, man. He’s obviously one of the warriors on this team. Whenever he goes out there, he gives it all that he has.”
Sale received Tommy John surgery in March of 2020, and it will likely take him time to regain his All-Star ability. From 2012 to 2018, Sale made seven consecutive Midsummer Classic rosters, a testament to his pitching ability.
The wing has looked dominant in multiple rehab outings, which is a positive sign. Hopefully, his electric fastball and off-speed arsenal displayed in the minors will translate to Fenway Park on Saturday.
American League East Update
The Boston Red Sox are in second place in the AL East and hold the final playoff spot for the league. Boston would face Oakland in the Coliseum in a one-game Wild Card if the season ended today.
Luckily, the season does not end today, so the Red Sox have plenty of chances to earn a ticket to the ALDS. The Wild Card is fun for fans to watch, but it’s not a game that players want to compete in because it’s a one-game championship.
The Red Sox have two more games against the O’s before three against the Yankees in the Bronx. If they survive the series in New York, Boston will host Texas, Minnesota and then head to Cleveland, totaling nine games.
All three clubs have a losing record in 2021, so Boston has winnable games remaining in August. They end the month heading to Tampa Bay for a critical four-game series against the Rays. They have seven remaining contests against the division leaders, so do not rule out the Red Sox from taking the division crown.
However, this is not possible unless the Red Sox institute a win-the-day mentality. The only thing that matters TODAY is beating Baltimore.