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Chris Sale will be in the ALCS rotation for the Red Sox


Red Sox

The Red Sox manager has confirmed Sale will start at least one game against the Houston Astros after battling the Tampa Bays Rays in his last start.

Chris Sale. (AP Photo / Nick Wass)

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Although the Red Sox won Game 2 of the ALDS by a resounding margin, the game did not go well for starting pitcher Chris Sale.

The southpaw, entering his first playoff game in three seasons, lasted just one inning in the divisional round game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The AL East champions and World Series finalists a year ago chased Sale early with five runs on four hits in the opening frame, including a grand slam from Jordan Luplow.

But although Sale now has two back-to-back below-par starts, including his short final against the Washington Nationals, Red Sox manager Alex Cora isn’t giving up on him yet.

Cora told WEEI’s Merloni and Fauria Show that Sale will start Sox games in their ALDS game against the Houston Astros, which begins Friday night.

“He’s still in the rotation. It’s going to be a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish, ”Cora said.

In fact, the manager added, he was ready to put Sale in the game to shut down the Rays if fortune permitted.

“He was probably going to come in with a lead in the ninth because the way they were set up with lefties there were a lot of good games for him,” Cora said. “He’s ready, he’s awesome. It is part of the rotation.

The move puts a lot of faith in the former All-Star, who recently hit speed bumps upon his return from Tommy John’s operation on his launch arm.

After going 5-1 in his first eight starts on the injured list, Sale struggled to control his last 2021 start against Washington, allowing four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. . Then came the disaster against the Rays, which could have put the Red Sox in a 0-2 hole in the playoffs in the best-of-five series.

Cora hinted that mechanical issues were at the root of Sale’s poor performance, saying the team searched the video for flaws to correct.

“There was a big movie shoot two days ago and people were only watching a few things, and I hope we found it,” the manager said. “From now on he’s going to be Chris Sale for us and give us the opportunity to win baseball games.”

Sale likely won’t be the Red Sox Game 1 starter given the uncertainty over his performance, with that nod more likely to go to Nathan Eovaldi or Eduardo Rodriguez. The southpaw has also struggled against the Astros, posting a 7.24 ERA in all three playoff games he has pitched against Houston since 2017.

But the return of the real sale – or at least the guy who pitched the sixth or more inning in 7 of 9 starts this season – gives the Red Sox a much better chance to shock the Astros and return to the Series. global.