Sports Q: Should Chris Sale have been left in to go for 20 strikeouts?

"You don’t want to push your luck with that."

Red Sox starter Chris Sale had 17 strikeouts on Tuesday.

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.

Wish Alex Cora had given Chris Sale a chance at 20 strikeouts. Chances like that don’t come around very often. – Earl R.

C’mon, we know better than this, gang. I’m all for seeing Roger Clemens’s records broken, especially if it’s a Red Sox pitcher doing the breaking.


But we also have first-hand knowledge of the importance of taking care of ace pitchers’ arms – especially when said ace pitchers have a history of fading, whether after a certain pitch count in a game or after a certain point on the calendar.

We saw Pedro Martinez smoke every jacked-up hitter in the National League in the ’99 All-Star Game, and we also remember him getting lit up by the Marlins in mid-July, going on the DL, and acknowledging maybe he overdid it against the Bagwells and McGwires.

We saw Sale hit 101 miles per hour in the All-Star Game last year, then throw just 44.1 innings afterward, including the postseason.

And then there is Sale’s recent history. It wasn’t more than a couple of starts ago that there were still serious questions about what he would be this season. It’s extremely encouraging, and maybe a little surprising too, that he’s returned to dominance lately.

You don’t want to push your luck with that. Leaving him in past 108 pitches to try to accumulate strikeouts would have been too risky, as cool as it would have been to see him get 20, or even 21. Cora did the right thing.

What does everyone else think? Should Sale have been left in to go for 20 strikeouts? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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