A day after Chris Sale threw 13 pitches in relief to help eliminate the Yankees, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said his ace was all set for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night against Houston.
Cora told MLB Network on Wednesday that Sale would start the first game with David Price in Game 2. The Astros will start Justin Verlander then Gerrit Cole.
Sale pitched a perfect eighth inning in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory against the Yankees and said afterward he was fine to start on Saturday if that is what Cora decided.
“Whatever he wants,” Sale said. “I’m ready for it.”
He was far more excited about winning a playoff series for the first time in his career.
“This is what I’ve wanted my entire life,” Sale said. “You sign up for this gig when you become a baseball player. When you get to spring training this is what you play for.”
Sale pitched twice against the Yankees and allowed two earned runs over 6⅓ innings with nine strikeouts.
It was a significant improvement from last season when he faced the Astros twice in the Division Series, once in relief, and gave up nine runs on 13 hits over 9⅔ innings.
“It’s a lot better to be in the winning side,” Sale said. “I’ve said all along I try to learn from every experience and learn obviously from my mistakes. My first go at it was God-awful, as bad as it could possibly get. Going through that made me better for this situation here and hopefully going forward.
“I look a lot at what happened the first time around and obviously try to flip the script and here we are.”
Sale was asked what he specifically learned from the postseason a year ago.
“Don’t suck,” he said. “Seriously, man. It was a very humbling experience.”
For Price, it’s another shot at finally winning a postseason game as a starter. He is 0-9 with a 6.03 earned run average in 10 starts.
Price faced the Astros twice in relief in the Division Series between the teams last season and threw 6⅔ scoreless innings. In two starts this season, Price allowed five earned runs over 12⅓ innings against Houston and struck out 17.
Game times set
Major League Baseball set the game times for the best-of-seven ALCS. Saturday’s game will start at 8:09 p.m. with Game 2 on Sunday at 7:09 p.m.
When the series shifts to Houston on Tuesday, the game times would be 5:09 p.m. for Game 3, 8:39 p.m. for Game 4, and 8:09 for Game 5.
Game 6 back in Boston on Oct. 20 would be at 5:09 p.m. unless the NLCS is over. Then it would be at 8:09 p.m. Game 7 would be at 7:39 p.m.
All of the games will be on TBS.
Tuesday’s victory gave the Sox a 11-12 record in playoff games against the Yankees. They have won seven of the last eight . . .The Sox outscored the Yankees, 27-14, in the series . . . Craig Kimbrel has allowed four earned runs on six hits, three walks, and two hit batters over 4⅓ innings in the postseason the last two seasons . . . The Sox had Wednesday off after a 4 a.m. arrival at Fenway Park. The team is scheduled to work out on Thursday and Friday.