Chris Sale made his return to the mound on Wednesday, pitching one inning before being removed to throw a couple more pitches in the bullpen. In his inning of work, Sale gave up a leadoff double, hit a batter, and struck out two. The original plan was to have Sale go two innings or a maximum of 40 pitches, but he threw a decent amount of pitches in the 1st and Cora opted to pull him rather than send him out for the 2nd.
Sale has been dominant all season and if he can put together a few more decent starts, has a pretty good chance to win his first Cy Young award. Injuries have kept him out since August 12th, and Boston has chosen to be safe with the return timetable of their star pitcher. Although the Cy Young is definitely up for grabs, Boston doesn’t want to take a chance on losing their ace for the postseason by bringing him back up to speed too early.
Christopher Evans/Boston Herald
The last time Sale pitched on August 12th, he threw five shutout innings against Baltimore and seemed to look and feel fine. Pain emerged over the next couple of days however, and Sale found himself on the DL. It took nearly a month for him to make another start, but the Sox are hoping the extra time taken will translate to full health.
The plan at this point is to have Sale make a scheduled start against the Mets on Sunday. Having clinched a playoff spot in the win yesterday, the Sox want to make sure they are not taking chances with his health. His start against the Mets will likely be somewhat abbreviated, although Cora has not yet stated a desired inning or pitch count number for the game.
Boston fans hope to see the same old Chris Sale come out on Sunday, but the bigger concern is making sure we have our ace come October. Hopefully the injury troubles are behind us and Sale comes out and uses September to show the world why he is the rightful AL Cy Young Winner, and then guides Boston to another World Series victory.