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The Red Sox pitching staff has been inconsistent all season, leaving fans clamoring for the front office to acquire more bullpen talent. But, the first two games of Boston’s series didn’t see those same issues.
On Saturday, Chris Sale pitched one of his best games of the season. He went six innings, giving up two hits and one earned run while striking out 10 batters. He controlled his pitches well, only walking two batters.
“My key today was command, especially of the fastball,” Sale told reporters after the game. “Had a good breaking ball going, change speeds … had a good one today.”
The day before, Brayan Bello notched a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings on the mound.
The Red Sox lost both games.
Saturday’s game was nearly wrapped up in favor of Boston, but Ceddanne Rafaela misread a fly ball on what could have been the final out of the game. Toronto rallied back to win in 13 innings.
In that contest, the Red Sox earned just eight hits in 43 at-bats, good for a .186 team batting average. They had their moments, but weren’t consistent enough at the plate to aid Sale’s strong start.
Friday’s game saw even less offensive production. Boston didn’t score a run and only recorded five hits. Bello only made one real mistake on the mound, and one pitch scored all the Blue Jays runs of the game. But without run support on the other side, Bello’s mistake proved costly.
Boston’s rotation is coming together late in the season, albeit under virtually meaningless circumstances. Nick Pivetta’s return to the starting rotation has gone well. Tanner Houck is back after an injury sidelined him for a lengthy portion of the middle of the season. And Bello and Sale are not consistent yet, but producing solid outings.
“I’m tough on myself, I have high expectations and I’ve been absent for a while. So, when I’m out there, I like to at least be able to do what I’m supposed to do,” Sale said. “So, today was a step in the right direction, for sure.”
The Red Sox pitching has to be more consistent, but against Toronto so far, defensive errors and lackluster offense have been the biggest blows. Still, Sale isn’t rolling over and cruising to the end of a disappointing season.
“Obviously, we’re in a tough situation,” Sale said. “At least we can go out there and play for pride, and I’m not going to give up. We’re not going to cash it in.”
Boston plays game three against the Blue Jays on Sunday at 1:37 p.m. EST.
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