Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski isn’t waiting to find out who the Red Sox will face in the American League Division Series to name his Game 1 starter.
Appearing on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday, Dombrowski confirmed that it will ‘not surprise anybody’ when the 6-foot-6 Chris Sale gets the ball as the Sox open up their playoff run at Fenway Park next Friday.
“He’s going to pitch [Wednesday] against the Orioles, that’ll be his last start for the [regular] season,” Dombrowski said of the plans for Sale, who has been on a strict pitch count limit since his return in mid-August. “He will stretch out again to 90-ish pitches, and then be ready to throw 100 pitches for the postseason.”
Limited by shoulder discomfort for almost the entire second half of the season, the 29-year-old Sale has pitched just 12.1 innings since Aug. 12, and worked three and a third innings in Cleveland last weekend. It was in that Cleveland start that Sale threw over 70 minutes, and fanned seven batters while surrendering five hits and two earned runs in a Red Sox win.
Prior to his injury woes, Sale looked poised to capture the 2018 A.L. Cy Young as the league’s top pitcher, and has a 12-4 record with a 2.00 ERA and 229 strikeouts through 153.1 innings this season.
With Sale expected to start Game 1, it seems likely that Red Sox manager Alex Cora will turn to David Price for Game 2.
The veteran Price is 15-7 with a 3.53 ERA on the season, but has been especially dominant since the All-Star break, with a 5-1 record, 2.00 ERA, and with opponents hitting just .191 off him in 63 innings of work.