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.
Pirates starter Chris Archer exited Tuesday night’s start against the Pirates while warming up ahead of the second inning. He was examined by the Pirates’ training staff before walking off the field. The reason is currently unknown but an update should be forthcoming.
Archer allowed a pair of singles before getting consecutive strikeouts to see his way out of the first inning. The 30-year-old right-hander has had a forgettable year in Pittsburgh, entering Tuesday’s action 3-9 with a 5.23 ERA and a 141/55 K/BB ratio in 118 2/3 innings.
The Pirates, overall, are in rough shape, losing 22 of their last 27 games dating back to July 21. They are 51-73, 15.5 games out of first place in the NL Central cellar. It may behoove them to play it safe with Archer since they don’t have anything to play for over the remainder of the regular season. The club holds options for his 2020 and ’21 seasons at $9 million and $11 million, respectively.