BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale made his Red Sox debut on Monday (the spring edition, of course), though things didn’t go the way the fiery ace would have liked.
Sale went two innings against the Houston Astros at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, allowing two runs (one earned) off four hits while striking out two.
The first batter Sale faced, George Springer, reached when his pop-up to first base got caught in the wind and Sam Travis dropped the ball. The next batter, Marwin Gonzalez, doubled to left to put runners on second and third, with Springer scoring two batters later on a sac fly to center by Evan Gattis. Sale got Josh Reddick to ground out to end the frame without any further runners crossing the plate.
Tyler White led off the bottom of the second inning with another bloop single before Sale retired the next two batters on a fly out and a strikeout. After another bloop single by No. 9 hitter Tony Kemp, White scored on an RBI single by Springer before Sale ended the inning — and his afternoon — by striking out Gonzalez looking.
Sale, in his true bulldog form, was not pleased with the results on Monday. But he was pleased that he was able to throw all his pitches for strikes.
“Happy? I don’t know. I got some good work in, but I’m not a fan of sitting here and saying Spring Training doesn’t matter. You still want to get results,” he said after the outing. “But I felt good and the ball felt good coming out of my hand. I felt strong throughout. I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes, so that was a step in the right direction.
“You don’t want to go out and give up a run per [inning]. That’s tough,” he added.
The Boston lefty faced 11 batters in his first outing of the spring, throwing 26 of his 37 pitches for strikes. Sale topped out at 97 MPH on the radar gun and exited following the second inning given the high pitch count.
“I wanted to [pitch three innings], but I understand why [I didn’t],” he said. “I racked up a pretty good amount of pitches, which is another thing I’d like to get down. I’d like to go out there for maybe 13-15 pitches; that’s the range as a starter that lets you finish a game and save the bullpen.
“But hey, this was the first time out and it is what it is. We’ll roll with it and just try to be better the next time out,” he said, already eyeing his second start of the spring. “If I had gone out and threw two perfect innings, I’m still going to try and get better than that.”
Sale did not factor into the decision, as Travis made amends for his error with a three-run homer in the top of the third inning to give Boston a 3-2 lead. No pitcher actually factored into the decision, as the Red Sox and Astros ended in a 5-5 tie.