On April 15, Chris Sale braved a frigid 34-degree night to strike out eight Baltimore batters in five dominant innings as the Red Sox beat the Orioles. Although Boston’s ace acknowledged the conditions that night were “miserable,” Sale refused to wear long sleeves under his jersey.
The temperature will be a slightly balmier 49 degrees Saturday for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Sale is slated to face Houston Astros righthander Justin Verlander in the series opener, and he’ll do so without any extra fabric for warmth.
“We’ve got the right guy on the mound tonight,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, per the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “He doesn’t care. He won’t wear sleeves, because he promised someone in Chicago that he’d never wear sleeves. I don’t understand it.”
Cora noted the cold will be “very uncomfortable,” but doesn’t expect it to be a problem for a pitcher carrying a 2.11 ERA into the ALCS.
“Like I told you guys in February, you know, it’s amazing how baseball players complain of cold weather in April and May and when October comes, for some reason it really doesn’t matter,” Cora said. “I think the fact that you’re four games away from going to a World Series blocks that out, and people really just concentrate on what they have to and they overcome the cold weather.”
The Astros will have to overcome the weather and Sale. After the Red Sox 3-1 victory in April, Orioles slugger Chris Davis said the southpaw is “one of the best in the big leagues.”
“He’s tough when it’s sunny and 75.”