With a strikeout of Oscar Mercado to end the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night in Cleveland, Red Sox starter Chris Sale reached five punch-outs for the night. More importantly, he reached 2,000 in his career. Per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, Sale is the fastest to reach 2,000 career strikeouts, doing so in 1,626 innings. The previous record-holder, Pedro Martínez, got there in 1,711 1/3 innings. Others near the top of the list are Randy Johnson (1,733 1/3), Max Scherzer (1,784), Clayton Kershaw (1,837 2/3), and Nolan Ryan (1,865 2/3).
Sale, 30, entered Tuesday night’s start with an uncharacteristically high 4.41 ERA despite a 206/35 K/BB ratio in 140 2/3 innings of work on the season. The lefty signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension in March to keep him in Boston through at least 2024.