The Boston Red Sox started their American League Division Series against the New York Yankees on Friday night by sending ace Chris Sale to the mound. The question with Sale was where would his velocity. For at least a night, he seemed to put those concerns to rest.
Sale completed 5 1/3 innings, holding the Yankees to five hits and two runs in a. He did strike out eight while averaging 94.6 mph on his fastball. He topped out at 97 mph and his final pitch, No. 93, clocked in around 96, per Statcast.
Chris Sale has officially given the Red Sox their longest start since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) October 6, 2018
Chalk those up as positive signs considering Sale's velocity had dipped from 96 mph in his first September start all the way down to 90 mph in his final regular-season appearance. This from a pitcher who averaged 95.3 mph on his heater overall.
Sale's down velocity combined with his injury woes led to speculation about his health. For his part, he was adamant the reduced oomph had to do with his mechanics:
"I saw some things last week and even tonight, just not really driving off my lower half and really create that torque I have in the past," Sale said. "We've got extended time now to kind of figure out what we need to do and we'll go from there."
Sure enough, Sale seems to have things figured out. That has to be an encouraging sign for the Red Sox, who'll need him to be hearty and hale to go as deep into the postseason as they'd like.