Sale allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out seven batters in 5.1 innings in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros on Wednesday. He was saddled with the loss. The whiffs were there for Sale, and he actually pitched quite well through his first five frames, allowing nothing more than a second-inning solo shot by Yordan Alvarez. Everything unraveled in the sixth inning, however, when he started to face Houston's best bats for the third time. A walk and an error to start the frame put him in trouble right away, and he was eventually pulled after allowing a two-RBI double by Yordan Alvarez, who would later come around to score himself. It hasn't been a postseason to remember for the veteran lefty, who's only thrown nine innings across his three starts and owns an 8.00 ERA.
Sale will start Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros on Wednesday unless he's needed in relief for Tuesday's Game 4 matchup, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports. While Sale is technically available out of the bullpen Tuesday, the Red Sox would likely much prefer for him to handle multiple innings at the start of Wednesday's contest. He's had a limited role in his two playoff starts thus far this year, lasting a combined 3.2 innings while allowing six runs on nine hits.
Sale allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out two in 2.2 innings in Friday's loss to the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS. He didn't factor into the decision. Sale gave up a run in the bottom of the first inning Friday but held the Astros scoreless during the remainder of his outing. He's made two starts since the postseason began and has posted a 14.73 ERA and 3.00 WHIP in 3.2 innings. The southpaw tentatively lines up to make his next start at home in Game 5 on Wednesday, but he could be available sooner since he threw just 61 pitches in Game 1.
Sale will start Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros on Friday, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports. Sale struggled in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rays and allowed five runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two in one inning. However, the southpaw will still take the mound to begin the ALCS, while Nate Eovaldi will start Game 2 on Saturday.
Manager Alex Cora said Sale will be available out of the bullpen for Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays on Sunday, Christopher Smith of The Springfield Republican reports. Sale surrendered five runs in one frame during his Game 2 start Friday, and he'll be available as a reliever two days later since he threw only 30 pitches in that outing. Eduardo Rodriguez already lined up as the starter for a potential Game 5 on Wednesday, so working out of the bullpen shouldn't affect Sale's next turn through the rotation, which was already likely to come in the ALCS, should the Red Sox advance.