The Boston Red Sox have chosen Chris Sale to take the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series. And as we know, it starts tonight. But, how did we get here?
Sale, who was admitted to the hospital shortly after his Game 1 start in the ALCS because of a stomach illness — or belly button issue?? —, says he’s ready to go. The starting rotation, with Sale at the forefront, seems to be the one thing manager Alex Cora is most certain about.
“He’s good to go,” Cora told reporters via MLB.com. “He’s our Game 1 starter. I think everything works out for a reason, and Game 5 [of the ALCS] happened and he gets a few more off-days so he can take care of his belly button, and he’ll be ready to go.”
The Red Sox ace has not pitched since his Game 1 ALCS start. Sale did say that if he’s on the mound, he’s ready. And there’s nothing else to it.
Sale: 'If I'm standing on the mound I'm 100 percent'
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) October 22, 2018
It’s hard to be surprised that he’s getting the ball in Game 1. Especially since the Dodgers are starting Clayton Kershaw opposite him. Sale has a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the 2018 postseason. Plus, his opponents are only hitting .171. Through the 2018 regular season, Sale would put up a 2.11 ERA over 27 starts.
The Red Sox want the “usual” Sale to start Tuesday’s game so that Boston can take an early lead in the series. And while his last outing only lasted four innings, he’s prepared to pitch as long as his manager allows in Game 1.
“I think my job’s been the same since the first day I got here,” Sale said. “You hand me the ball when you want me to throw it, and you take it out of my hand when you want me stop. That’s what I’m going with.”
His return to the mound might seem mysterious. And there are some questions, such as: How long will he last? Will it be classic Sale? The one who shut downs lineups? Cy Young-worthy? The questions that loom will soon be answered, but the pitcher (and his manager) remain confident in his abilities to lead the team.
“…He’s ready to go,” Cora continues. “…excited to pitch Game 1. He’s been our guy since Day 1. Obviously, the other guys did an outstanding job, but him pitching that game, it’s something we mapped out through September. This was the plan all along. Happy that he’s going to be able to go out there and perform.”
The Red Sox and Dodgers begin play Tuesday at 8:10 EST on Fox from Fenway Park.