MLB playoffs: Chris Sale's velocity rebounds as he gives Red Sox their longest playoff start in five years

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 5-4 victory. 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.

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.

LDS games will air on FS1, TBS and MLB Network. Games on TBS and FS1 can be streamed on fuboTV (Try for free). For a look at the complete schedule, click here  

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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