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Chris Sale strikes out 17 batters in seven innings against Rockies

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It’s safe to say Chris Sale has figured things out. Despite six shutout innings on May 3 against the White Sox, Sale exited the start with a 5.25 ERA on the season. Not exactly the best start. Sale continued to pitch well last Wednesday against the Orioles, striking out 14 batters without issuing a walk across eight innings of one-run ball.

That’s a tough act to follow, but Sale had the game of his life on Tuesday at home against the Rockies. He yielded two runs — both coming on a Nolan Arenado homer — on three hits while issuing zero walks and striking out 17 batters. That obliterates Sale’s previous single-game high of 15 strikeouts, accomplished three times, twice as a member of the White Sox. Sale is the first pitcher to strike out at least 17 batters in a game since Max Scherzer tied the record with 20 strikeouts against the Tigers on May 11, 2016. The last member of the Red Sox to strike out at least 17 in one game was Pedro Martínez on May 6, 2000 against the Devil Rays.

Sale stood at 108 pitches after completing the seventh inning. Understandably, manager Alex Cora didn’t allow his ace to take the mound for the eighth inning with his team leading 3-2. Brandon Workman, who hadn’t allowed a hit in his last 11 appearances, took over for Sale. Chris Iannetta doubled off of Workman with one out to end that streak. [Update: And Workman then served up a two-run home run to Charlie Blackmon, giving the Rockies a 4-3 lead. Sale is no longer in line for the win in his 17-strikeout game.]

After Tuesday night’s performance, Sale now has a 4.24 ERA with a 73/11 K/BB ratio in 51 innings on the season.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.