Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Boston Red Sox
The Pitcher: Chris Sale
Zero argument on this one. While Rick Porcello and David Price can dominate any game, especially against a lineup as feeble as the Phils, I went with a different arm. Chris Sale has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, so when the Red Sox got him, baseball knew they were once again in it to win it.
This season, Sale is 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA and WHIP of 0.96 in his 13 starts. In his first nine starts, the lefty had double-digit strikeouts. He has only allowed more than three earned runs in three of his starts. Only one time has he missed getting through the sixth inning. Teams own a frail .568 OPS against him thus far.
Six of the current Phillies have at least one hit off the southpaw. He faced the Phils last season and they were able to hit him around a bit. The Phillies scored six runs against him on seven hits, while striking out only five times over only four innings. That game was in Philadelphia.
Seeing as he is his start will be on the road, the Phils have somewhat of a chance Thursday. He is allowing teams to hit a robust .237 in their own parks. His ERA is more than a point higher on the road than at Fenway.
Over his career, he has not been the time to lose his dominance as a game moves along. Instead, he stays pretty steady. His fastball-slider combination is really what gets him by and makes him difficult, especially on lefties. At one point in his career, Sale did not allow a homer to a lefty for three seasons.
The flamethrower’s fastball tops out around 99 MPH and averages 95 MPH, while the slider sits around 80 MPH from his crazy arm slot. He has created 105 of his 126 strikeouts with those two pitches.
Next: Bringing up Scott Kingery won't help the Phillies
Thursday should be a very difficult matchup for the Phillies. I fully expect to see a right-handed heavy lineup against the dominant Sale.