Red Sox ace Chris Sale worked eight scoreless innings on Wednesday night in Boston's 9-0 win, striking out 13 Orioles against zero walks while allowing only four hits. It was a dominant performance like we've seen on many occasions through his career. His 13th strikeout of the night happened to be his 300th of the season, too.
Here's the big one:
As every baseball fan knows, 300 is a huge number of punchouts. This was only the 35th time in MLB history a pitcher has reached that plateau and the first time since 2015, when Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers pulled it off. An American League pitcher hasn't done it since 1999, when Pedro Martinez -- also of the Red Sox -- struck out 313.
Most members of the 300-strikeout club have achieved the feat more than once. Here's a list:
- Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan; six times
- Sandy Koufax and Curt Schilling; three times
- Walter Johnson, Rube Waddell, Sam McDowell, Pedro Martinez and J.R. Richard; two times
The following pitchers struck out 300 in a season once: Kershaw, Bob Feller, Mickey Lolich, Mike Scott, Steve Carlton and Vida Blue.
And now Chris Sale.
Sale will get another start to add to his total. He can't crack the top 10 all-time, as the 10th highest strikeout total ever was 334 (Johnson, 2002). For those wondering, the all-time record is 383 from Nolan Ryan in 1973. Unless something drastic happens with how starting pitchers are used, that's unlikely to fall anytime soon.
Overall, kudos to Sale for a phenomenal feat. The AL Cy Young vote between him and Corey Kluber should be interesting.