Despite an incredibly dissappointing year for the Red Sox ace, Chris Sale's career dominance is undeniable. His ability to fan batters by mixing up his killer slider and elite fastball is remarkable. He makes hitters look silly as frequently as anyone who's ever picked up a baseball.
That may sound like hyperbole, but Sale has the stats to prove it. With five strikeouts on Tuesday, Sale, 30, will become the fastest pitcher ever to reach 2,000 strikeouts.
According to Elias, the MLB record for fewest innings needed to reach 2,000 strikeouts belongs to Pedro Martinez, who needed 1,711.1 innings. Sale, meanwhile, has 1,995 strikeouts in 1,623.0 innings pitched — nearly 100 fewer than Martinez — entering Tuesday's matchup.
Sale will almost certainly eclipse the 2,000-strikeout mark on Tuesday, considering he averages 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He's fanned fewer than five batters just once — on Aug. 3 in Yankee Stadium — since May.
The strikeout-or-home run approach of modern baseball has certainly helped Sale to his record-breaking strikeout pace. However, fellow aces Clayton Kershaw (1,837.2 IP) and Max Scherzer (1,784.0) have pitched in the same era, but took much longer to reach 2,000 strikeouts.
Unfortunately for Boston, strikeouts haven't led to wins this year. Even though Sale's SO/9 is nearly the same as the career-high he set last year (13.5), the Red Sox are 9-15 when he starts in 2019.
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