Thanks to only being used once in the ALCS, Chris Sale is available to start Game 1 of the World Series for the Red Sox.
The Boston Red Sox may have stunned quite a few people when they eliminated the Houston Astros in the ALCS in just five games, storming back to win four straight after dropping Game 1 at Fenway Park.
Most observers probably thought the series would go at least six games, maybe even seven. This was a matchup of two teams that both won well over 100 games this year, and it didn’t seem likely that one team would end it so quickly.
But ending the series after just five games worked out perfectly for the Red Sox, because now it means their ace Chris Sale will be ready to pitch Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.
Had the Red Sox lost Game 5 of the ALCS, or any of their previous wins, then the series would’ve returned to Fenway Park and Sale would’ve been given the ball in Game 6. Interestingly enough, Sale was originally scheduled to start Game 5 until a stomach illness pushed him back a game.
Either way, had Sale been used a second time in the ALCS, that would’ve meant that the start in Game 1 of the World Series most likely would’ve been given to either Nathan Eovaldi or Rick Porcello. No disrespect to either of those starters — they’ve both been pretty good in the postseason, minus Porcello’s Game 4 start against the Astros (which Boston still ended up winning) — but neither of them is the ace of this rotation.
Sale is the pitcher that the Red Sox want to start a series for them because he gives them the best chance to win that crucial first game. He’s been dominant for Boston all year long, finishing with a 12-4 record and a 2.11 ERA. He had a blip during Game 1 of the ALCS, the only game of that series the Red Sox lost. But during his start in the ALDS against the New York Yankees, he was his normally dominant self, striking hitters out left and right and buckling them with his disgusting slider.
That’s the Chris Sale the Red Sox need to start Game 1 of the World Series. And you can bet that Sale, being an incredibly fierce competitor, is going to be fired up and ready to go.