Today the Red Sox will face off against the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of the 2023 season. The Red Sox dropped the first game of the year on Thursday, but there is still excitement in the air as Chris Sale is set to make his first start of the season today. Chris Sale in 2023 has had his ups and downs since his Red Sox debut in 2017. Since then there has been a world series ring followed by Tommy John surgery. He is hoping to bounce back in 2023, and there are plenty of reasons to believe he will.
Opening Day Walk-off… Kinda
Opening Day was rough for the Red Sox pitching staff. The Sox gave up nine walks in their 10-9 loss against Baltimore. These nine walks tied an Opening Day franchise record for the Red Sox. This matched 1926 Opening Day against the Yankees and 1966 against the Orioles. While the run support was nice, and the lineup showed promising signs, walking nine batters isn’t going to win games.
Chris Sale has been battling injuries for several years now. The most recent being a broken finger after getting hit by a come-backer in his second appearance of last year. This was immediately followed by a mysterious bike accident which resulted in a broken right wrist for Sale. Since then, the injuries haven’t been a problem yet in 2023.
The concern of Sale’s velocity isn’t even a question, as he was regularly touching 97 in his Spring Training starts. Not to mention, his slider is just as nasty as it’s ever been. While the thought of injuries for Chris Sale will always linger in the backs of everyone’s minds, the only concern now seems to be control.
Chris Sale in 2023 Has Something to Prove
In his 15 innings pitched in Spring Training, Chris Sale put up a 4.80 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP and 17 hits. While not great, it’s important to remember it’s just Spring Training. Spring numbers are often inflated for the worse or for the better for any player. But there is still a reason to raise eyebrows when Chris Sale is missing directly down the middle to hitters. The velocity is there, the pitch movement is there, the control hopefully will also be there come his first start. Especially when walks were a main issue on Opening Day.
The legacy of Chris Sale in Boston will be remembered as very polarizing. He has spent the majority of his time on the injured list. But when Sale is dominant, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. As he makes his first start of the season today, it will be exciting to see his eagerness to prove he is still one of the best.
Today’s game can be watched on NESN at 4:10pm EST.
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