Early in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez noted the team’s current ace, Chris Sale, has matured into a pitcher that can locate pitches instead of rifling them past batters. Hours later, Martinez would question that command after a sub-par outing from the Sox starter.
“Difficult night for Sale, didn’t have the command of his breaking ball,” Martinez tweeted. “Maybe his bullpen appearance threw something off a bit.”
Although Sale gave up only two runs on one hit Saturday night, he had trouble finding the strike zone (four walks) and finishing at-bats. The four-inning Game 1 start was Sale’s first since the series opener against the Yankees. However, the 29-year-old — as Martinez alluded to — came on in relief in Game 4, retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth inning.
Verlander and Sale have mature so nicely as pitchers. They are both comfortable on each of the cities they play for, they have little stress, and putting that together with the way their careers are at the top I think its great.
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 14, 2018
Martinez acknowledged that it’s normal for the Red Sox to have “a bit of a low down” in their first game since eliminating New York, but maintained the excuses need to end before Game 2 on Sunday.
“Tomorrow they need to pick it up!” Martinez wrote. “They shouldn’t have a sloppy game and this is just starting, 6 more games to go.”
The three-time Cy Young winner had no qualms with Sox manager Alex Cora picking up his second ejection of the season. Umpire James Hoye sent Cora to the clubhouse for arguing balls and strikes after outfielder Andrew Benintendi struck out looking in the fifth inning.
“Cora went out to protect his player and I loved the way he went after the umpire,” Martinez said. “The umpire had it with Benintendi all night so good managers do what Alex did.”
The Red Sox and Astros will renew acquaintances, with Martinez surely paying close attention, on Sunday at 7:09 p.m.