BOSTON — The Chris Sale and Pedro Martinez comparisons have been constant. On Tuesday night, Sale undeniably put himself ahead of Martinez in one way.
Sale’s third strikeout of the evening agains the Blue Jays was the 1,500th of his career, making him the fastest to reach that total in MLB history, based on innings. Sale reached the milestone strikeout in 1,290 innings, breaking Kerry Wood’s record of 1,303.
Pedro Martinez is now the third fastest, getting to 1,500 in 1,337 innings. Randy Johnson did it in 1,365 2/3 innings, followed by Nolan Ryan in 1,384 2/3 innings.
Coming off an uncharacteristically terrible start, Sale struck out the first batter he faced. His third K was a strikeout looking of Kevin Pillar, and the ball was taken out of play.
The review that took place after Sale went just three innings vs. Cleveland last time out didn’t suggest he was tipping, manager John Farrell told reporters in Toronto.
"As we've gone back and looked at video, they capitalized on pitches up in the strike zone,” Farrell said. “He's going up against the best hitters in the world — all these things that we know. If you locate down in the strike zone, regardless if someone knows what's coming or not, you’ve got a pretty good chance. I can't say there's anything in his delivery that’s telegraphing or tipping or anything. To me, it was more pitches up in the strike zone that they capitalized on.”
Sale’s been particularly comfortable at Rogers Centre, with a 1.13 ERA there in 40 innings to begin the night.
FINAL SCORE: Indians 5, Red Sox 4
IN BRIEF: Michael Brantley singled in the winning run in the 11th inning, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Red Sox 5-4 on Saturday night to delay Boston's bid for a club-record 106th victory and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
RED SOX RECORD: 105-50
WHERE THEY STAND: The Red Sox will have to wait another day to break the franchise record for most wins in a season. But with seven games to go, and leading the Astros by 7.5 games for the best record in the AL, the Red Sox are still in good shape to clinch home field advantage.
HOW IT ENDED
SUNDAY: Red Sox (Hector Velazquez, 7-2, 3.18) at Indians (Adam Plutko, 4-5, 1.27), 7:05 p.m.
MONDAY: Orioles (Pitcher TBA) at Red Sox (Pitcher TBA), 7:10 p.m.
Eduardo Rodriguez shaky outing against the Yankees in the Red Sox' American League East-clinching victory over the Yankees - and Nathan Eovaldi's success against New York - has led to Alex Cora going with Eovaldi over E-Rod as a playoff starter, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Eovaldi (2-3, with a 3.64 ERA since joining the Red Sox) allowed two hits in six innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, his second strong start against Boston's rivals. Rodriguez (12-4, 3.79 ERA) couldn’t get through four innings Thursday against the Yankees. He walked seven, gave up five runs and has a 5.79 ERA and 1.554 WHIP in four starts since coming off the DL Sept. 1.
Rosenthal mentioned that E-Rod's pace and body language were concerns. He said Eovaldi will open the best-of-five A.L. Division Series in the bullpen, then be available to start Game 4, if necessary, in Oakland or New York.
The Yankees and A's will play in the wild-card game Oct. 2, with the winner playing the Red Sox in the best-of-five Division Series.
In talking to reporters Friday night in Cleveland, it sounded as if Cora had his rotation and bullpen figured out. Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello are likely the top three starters.
“We saw what happened this week. We have a pretty good idea who matches well with the Yankees," Cora said, adding that the Red Sox staff and scouts have to also concentrate on preparing for the A's, a team Boston hasn't played since May 16 after going 2-4 in the season series.
“It’s wide open for you guys," Cora said of his bullpen choices. "I have a pretty good idea of where we’re going.”