By MyFM's Jake Archer - The Red Sox tried to salvage a series split with the Detroit Tigers on Monday but came up short as the bats continued to stay cold and they lost 2-1. The game was billed as a premier pitchers duel between Sox ace Chris Sale and Tigers ace and 2016 Cy Young runner up Justin Verlander. The pitchers duel happened, but it didn’t unfold the way I thought it would.
I watched the whole game despite being here at work because I found a way to stream it on my cell phone, which I propped up against the computer screen. I’m a sports writer, so its technically work don’t worry. But I really wanted to take in Chris Sale pitching again because it’s a thing of beauty. The added bonus of having Verlander opposing him was awesome as well.
Early in the game, I felt really good about the Sox chances. They only scored a run off of Verlander in the second but they were making him work and getting his pitch count up. He was yielding a lot to the Boston bats but he also didn’t look that good. I thought it was only a matter of time before the Sox got to him, but I guess that’s what great pitchers do well. Even when they don’t have it all together, they can still perform at a high level and that’s what Verlander did.
On the other side, Sale looked untouchable and he was. He went strong into the 8th inning and picked up 10 strikeouts while only allowing five hits and a walk. The guy was still blowing fastballs by people at 96 miles per hour late in his outing. But as the innings kept passing, I was worrying more and more.
I wasn’t worried about Sale, I was worried that the Sox wouldn’t support him with runs again. He had pitched lights out in his Boston debut last week only to get the no decision because the bats couldn’t get it together. Now he was spinning a gem again and again he deserved to win. The thing I didn’t see coming though, was Sale running out of gas.
Like I said he was cruising into the eighth inning. He still looked really good and I was thinking that the only thing stopping him from a complete game might be his pitch count. But rather quickly, he unraveled and allowed the go-ahead run to score for Detroit. I don’t blame John Farrell for sending him out there because when your ace is going strong you leave him out there. Things went sideways rather quickly. I don’t blame Sale either, because he did his job.
The blame lies on the shoulders of the offense who just couldn’t get it going. I get that they were facing a great pitcher, but they’ve struggled a lot so far this year. They haven’t helped Chris Sale out at all. It’s too early to freak out and the team has caught some bad breaks that have led to people being absent from the lineup but it was a frustrating loss nonetheless.
Hopefully the team can turn this around for Sale because he deserved better yesterday. He’s an absolute monster out on that mound and if the Sox can even give him 3 or 4 runs a start they’ll win every game that he pitches.