Red Sox

How Chris Sale can make MLB history in Friday's start vs. Astros

How Chris Sale can make MLB history in Friday's start vs. Astros

Don't let the 1-5 record and 4.31 ERA fool you: Chris Sale has been absolutely dominant over the last three weeks.

In fact, the Boston Red Sox ace has the chance to make history Friday night in Houston.

Sale enters Friday's start against the Astros on a crazy streak: He's recorded ten or more strikeouts and allowed four or fewer hits in four consecutive starts dating to May 3.

If he extends that streak to five, he'll pass Pedro Martinez in the Red Sox record books and tie Johan Santana in the MLB record books.

Milestones were the last thing on Sale's mind in April, when he stumbled to an 0-5 record with a 6.30 ERA through his first six outings.

He's been absolutely lights-out in May, though, averaging a mind-boggling 17.4 strikeouts per nine innings (51 Ks in 26.1 innings) while allowing three runs or fewer in all four of his starts.

Believe it or not, the 30-year-old has room for improvement, as he walked a season-high five batters in his last appearance against Houston on May 19.

First pitch at Minute Maid Park is set for 8:10 p.m. ET, with history on the line for Sale as he continues his May redemption tour.

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MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

Could the Boston Red Sox participate in another blockbuster trade before the 2020 season?

We learned Tuesday that the Red Sox and Padres are still discussing a trade involving San Diego outfielder Wil Myers, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But it's possible a third team gets involved in a Red Sox-Padres trade, The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported Wednesday.

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From Lin:

As part of these considerations, the Padres have discussed a potential three-team trade that would ship Myers to the Red Sox and land Cincinnati Reds center fielder-second baseman Nick Senzel in San Diego, two sources told The Athletic

Lin added that no trade is imminent, but Acee also reported the Padres have interest in the 24-year-old Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds' No. 2 overall pick in 2016 who would become San Diego's center fielder.

Per Acee, a Padres-Red Sox trade would have Boston assume about half of the $61 million Myers is owed over the next three years while receiving some combination of pitcher Cal Quantrill and prospects Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias.

It's unclear how the Reds' involvement would affect Boston's return for Myers, or if the Red Sox would have to send a player to Cincinnati in this deal.

But San Diego general manager A.J. Preller apparently is serious about making a move: The Padres also remain interested in Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Lin reports.

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Perhaps Chris Sale's stock isn't as low as it appears.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA in 2019 before elbow inflammation ended his season in August.

He hasn't thrown off a major-league mound since then and may not be ready for 2020 Opening Day after contracting pneumonia prior to spring training. He turns 31 at the end of March.

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And yet: DraftKings Sportsbook currently lists Sale at +600 odds to win the 2020 American League Cy Young Award, the second-shortest odds behind New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Here's the top five:

Gerrit Cole +275
Chris Sale +600
Justin Verlander +700
Blake Snell +1000
Mike Clevinger +1000

Why are sportsbooks so bullish on Sale, who has better odds than reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander?

For one, the hard-throwing left-hander insists his arm is fully healthy. He also threw just 147.1 innings in 2019 -- his lowest output in a season since becoming a starter -- and should be well-rested for 2020.

Advanced metrics also suggest Sale's 2019 campaign wasn't as bad as it appeared: His 35.6 percent strikeout rate ranked second in baseball behind Cole, while his 3.39 FIP was the second-lowest in the majors among pitchers with an ERA above 4.00.

And lest we forget, Sale is just two seasons removed from posting a 2.11 ERA over 158 innings in 2018 and three seasons removed from leading MLB in strikeouts with 308.

The Red Sox need Sale to be at his peak if they want to have any success in 2020. As of right now, the odds are in his favor.