Red Sox

Drellich: Red Sox wise to give Chris Sale extra rest


Drellich: Red Sox wise to give Chris Sale extra rest

BOSTON — The history with Chris Sale is clear: he prefers extra rest. The Red Sox are doing that once again, and they're wise to.

Ignoring the amount of time off before his very start of the season, Sale this year has made 16 starts on a standard four days rest. Ten other starts have come with either five or six days rest.

This will wind up as the first year Sale makes more starts on regular rest than extra, but the Sox are looking to balance things out a little more.

"Our rotation will get an extra day this turn through," manager John Farrell said. "And it's likely he [Sale] gets an extra day the next two turns, with Monday being an off day as well [as Thursday]. The wild card in all of this is there's some potential for some weather coming in here towards the ends of this series against Toronto. We'll see how that may affect all of us going forward."

With the Red Sox off Thursday, that puts Sale's next scheduled start Saturday vs. the Rays at home. He could then face the Rays again on Friday, Sept. 15, on the road. There's one more Sox off-day remaining, on Sept. 21, for a total of three left in the regular season.

Could increased command be the gain for Sale? A less tired body should add up to better body control and therefore a better ability to spot pitches.

"I think he’s such a good athlete, to me, he’s the type of pitcher that, the additional days of rest, let’s say he’s pitching on  the seventh day, I don’t think it negatively affects him," Farrell said."But then you look at last night, I think that there were 70 percent strikes thrown. Were there a lot of foul balls? Yes, there were. Were there a lot of pitches that just missed? Yeah, it was a tight strike zone he was pitching to last night. We know the added days of rest given the innings pitched so far this year will be a boost."

In 2016, Sale made 13 starts on regular rest and 18 with extra. In 2015, it was 12 and 18. Through each full season as a starter, the story has been the same. 

After making his All-Star Game start this year, Sale said he has a little more incentive to dominate this year as the season winds down. 

“I think just a little bit more focus,” Sale said of what made him successful in 2016's second half. “I think preparation in between starts, the things that get you fresh, ready to go out there the fifth day. Obviously, we’re in a pretty good position. I think this year I’ll have a little more incentive. There will be a little bit more on the line. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to that."

Martinez' HR rallies Red Sox past Blue Jays, 5-4

USA TODAY Sports photo

Martinez' HR rallies Red Sox past Blue Jays, 5-4

TORONTO - Chris Sale wasn't his usual dominant self against the Blue Jays.

J.D. Martinez made sure that didn't matter.

Martinez hit a three-run homer, Sale won for the first time in three starts and the Red Sox rallied to beat Toronto 5-4 on Thursday night.

Andrew Benintendi had two hits and an RBI for the Red Sox, who wrapped up a 6-3 trip. The Red Sox are a major league-best 19-5, including 7-1 in one-run games.

"That was a tough one," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "To finish this road trip the way we did, it's outstanding."

Justin Smoak and Devon Travis hit solo home runs for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of seven.

"We just need to tighten some things up, get the starting rotation on a roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We're killing our `pen right now. That can't hold up."

Martinez put Boston in front for the first time with a two-out blast to right off Marco Estrada (2-2) in the fifth, his fifth.

"It seems like lately, we've been just scuffling a little bit at the plate, trying to find ways to put up runs," Martinez said. "To get it done was huge."

Martinez's past three homers have gone to the opposite field.

"He has that ability to stay back and hit line drives out of the ballpark," Cora said. "That's impressive."

Sale was impressed, too.

"He can do some pretty incredible things with that bat," Sale said of Martinez. "I'm appreciative of it tonight."

Martinez has 10 extra-base hits in his past 17 games.

"He's just not a power guy, he's a good hitter," Gibbons said.

Red Sox infielder Brock Holt was replaced after injuring his left hamstring while running during a third-inning double. Holt slowed between first and second and reached for the back of his leg. Tzu-Wei Lin ran for Holt and scored on Benintendi's double, then took over at shortstop. Holt has four doubles in four games and is hitting 16 for 34 (.471) in a nine-game hitting streak.

Cora said Holt was feeling better after the game and will be examined further Friday in Boston.

"It's tough to see because he's playing the way he's playing," Cora said.

Regular shortstop Xander Bogaerts, out since April 9 because of an injured left ankle, is expected to return from the disabled list Friday.

"I talked to him today and he was very upbeat," Cora said before the game. "Looking forward to having him back at shortstop and the middle of the lineup."

Sale (2-1) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings to improve to 5-1 in eight games at Toronto, where his ERA rose from 0.96 to 1.36. He struck out 35 over 22 scoreless innings at Rogers Centre last year.

"It was definitely a dogfight from the get-go," Sale said. "Giving up a run in the first three innings is tough."

Carson Smith got two outs, Matt Barnes worked 1 1/3 innings hitless innings and Craig Kimbrel got three straight outs for his seventh save in as many chances, finishing a six-hitter.

Kevin Pillar's first-inning sacrifice fly ended Sale's 23-inning scoreless streak and Travis made it 2-0 in the second with his first home run this season.

Benintendi's RBI double in the third cut the deficit, but Smoak boosted the lead to 3-1 in the bottom half with his first home run since April 1.

Estrada allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings. Estrada has given up 14 earned runs in his past three starts, raising his ERA from 2.77 to 6.00.

Teoscar Hernandez chased Smith with a two-out RBI double in the seventh, and Barnes struck out Smoak to strand the potential tying run at second.

LHP Drew Pomeranz (0-0, 7.36) starts the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Friday. It will be the second start of the season for Pomeranz, who missed the first 18 games with a forearm injury. LHP Blake Snell (3-1, 2.54) starts for the Rays.

© 2018 by The Associated Press.



Joe Kelly's suspension upheld, and he's not happy

File Photo

Joe Kelly's suspension upheld, and he's not happy

Joe Kelly has lost his appeal of his six-game suspension, meaning the suspension will begin with Thursday's game against the Blue Jays. 

And he's not happy about it (as noted by teammate Heath Hembree) . . . 

The ban came as a result of Kelly hitting Yankees first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin last month in retaliation for Austin sliding into Brock Holt with his spikes up. The Austin hit by pitch prompted a fight between the two teams, which featured Kelly and Austin throwing multiple punches. 

Kelly will be eligible to return next Wednesday against the Royals.