Red Sox’s Chris Sale extends Padres woes

Chris Sale is back. And the Boston Red Sox I hope it stays that way

In his most recent start, the oft-injured left-hander held the St. Louis Cardinals to one run on three hits and struck out nine over eight innings at Fenway Park last Saturday. It was the third time in his last five starts that Sale allowed just one run in an outing, though he left with a no-decision.

In those five starts, Sale has given up 11 runs on 25 hits and 5 walks with 35 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings with a 3.16 ERA. Sale is 2-1 in those starts and a Red Sox the 3-2. Overall, Boston is 5-3 in Sale’s eight starts this season — just three starts less than his total over the last three seasons.

Now Sale (3-2, 5.40 ERA) will make his ninth start of 2023 Saturday night in San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove (1-1, 6.63)

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“His fastball is playing,” Boston manager Alex Cora said recently of Sale. “Good sliders. Goes in the right direction. Fastball ticks [to 99 mph], and it’s exciting to see. He feels good physically and that’s good to see.

“He wants to compete. He wants to dominate. He’s 34, but his arms are younger.”

On Saturday, he faces the perfect team to dominate. THE Padres they have lost three in a row and 10 of their last 12 games. And Friday afternoon, Manny Machado, the Padres‘ emotional leader, went on the 10-day disabled list with a hairline fracture in his left hand — the result of being hit by a fastball from the Royals’ Aroldis Chapman.

“When you get just one run, it’s tough,” he said Padres Manager Bob Melvin late Friday night after the team lost 6-1 Red Sox in the series opener. “Tomorrow is important; Musgrove is going. But until our offense does something, it’s tough. We’ve got to keep working. Where we’re at right now, it might take a while. Red Sox had clutch hits in key situations tonight. We do not.

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This is a recurring theme.

THE Red Sox He was 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position Friday — the hits coming on Rob Refsnyder’s two-run double and Rafael Devers’ three-run homer in a five-run third inning. For the season a Red Sox They have a .295 average in RISP situations

THE Padres He was 0-3 Friday with runners in scoring position, including an illegal pop out with the bases loaded. Overall a Padres this season they are hitting .194 in RISP situations – last in the big leagues

Musgrove will make his fifth start of the season on Saturday. He didn’t make his debut until April 22 after suffering a broken left big toe during spring training. And his second start came in Mexico City, where he gave up seven runs on six hits, including three homers, in 3 1/3 innings.

His last two starts — both against the Los Angeles Dodgers this month — haven’t represented a return to full form. He gave up 5 runs (four earned) on 10 hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.

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— Field Level Media