It’s been a long road back from Tommy John surgery for Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale, but the lanky left-hander can officially say he’s all the way back after Saturday’s masterpiece of a start against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even though it came in a losing effort against a bad Cardinals team, Sale accomplished something he hasn’t done since 2019: last eight innings in a start, per ESPN Stats and Information.
Sale sawed through the Cardinals lineup with his wicked-good (sorry, Bostonians, I had to) slider, which accounted for 11 whiffs on the day.
The Red Sox lefty was blemish-free through six innings of work until he surrendered a leadoff home run to Cardinals slugger Nolan Arenado in the seventh.
The Red Sox let Sale come out for the eighth after 92 pitches- and the seven-time All-Star gritted his teeth and got his team three more outs.
Unfortunately for Sale, a win was not in the cards, as closer Kenley Jansen allowed three runs to cross the plate in the top half of the ninth inning, with the Red Sox bats going down scoreless in the bottom half to take the 4-3 loss.
Even in a defeat, this was a tremendous effort from Sale, who had a whopping 6.37 ERA coming into this start.
Since signing his five-year, $145 million contract extension back in 2019, it’s been a series of unfortunate events for Sale.
The 34-year-old lost his entire 2020 season to Tommy John surgery.
After returning in 2021, Sale endured a miserable 2022 campaign that included a rib injury, a delayed return from the injured list due to a medical issue, a pinky injury and a broken wrist suffered in a bicycle accident.
After all that and a rough start to 2023, Sale gave Red Sox fans reason to be optimistic on Saturday.