Boston Red Sox left-handed ace Chris Sale amassed an 0-4 record, 8.50 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his first four starts.
That span is a distant memory now.
Sale punched out 17 Colorado Rockies in seven innings Tuesday, capping a torrid five-start stretch that included 59 strikeouts.
MLB Stats posted eye-popping comparisons that put Sale in great company:
MLB Stats @ MLBStats
Chris Sale is the… – 1st pitcher since Max Scherzer (May 11, 2016) to strike out 17+. – 1st LHP with 17+ K since Johan Santana (Aug. 19, 2007). – 1st Red Sox pitcher to do so since Pedro Martínez (May 6, 2000). – 1st pitcher to EVER strike out 17+ in 7 or fewer IP. https://t.co/IulhkL73J5
Sale fanned eight of nine Rockies the first time through the lineup, with the lone exception being a David Dahl groundout.
He threw four perfect innings before Mark Reynolds hit a leadoff ground-rule double in the fifth. However, the southpaw then induced a Raimel Tapia lineout before he struck out the next five Rockies.
Despite Sale’s impressive work, he did not come away with the win.
He was in position for one despite allowing Nolan Arenado’s two-run homer in the seventh, which cut the Red Sox’s lead to 3-2. Sale then struck out the next three hitters to end the frame and left the game after 108 pitches.
When Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run bomb off reliever Brandon Workman to give the Rockies a 4-3 edge in the eighth, Sale was left with a no decision.
Regardless, Sale is one of MLB’s best stories after a rough start to the season. Despite his first four outings, Sale is now second in the American League in strikeouts behind the Houston Astros‘ Gerrit Cole.