Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox made Major League Baseball history on Tuesday when he set the record for pitching the fewest number of career innings in reaching 2000 strikeouts. Sale, a native of Lakeland, FL, needed only 1626 career innings pitched to reach 2000 strikeouts. He broke the record previously set by Pedro Martinez, who only needed 1711 1/3 innings pitched.
Sale set the record in the bottom of the third inning when he struck out Cleveland Indians center fielder Oscar Mercado. It was Sale’s fifth strikeout of the game in a 7-6 Boston Red Sox win.
During the game, Sale in fact had 12 strikeouts and gave up three earned runs and five hits in six and two thirds innings of work. Sale in fact got a no decision as the Red Sox won the game in 10 innings.
Interestingly, Martinez also set the previous record while playing for the Boston Red Sox. Martinez struck out Royals right fielder Michael Tucker on April 19, 2002 in a 4-0 Red Sox win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
On the season, it has been a rather disappointing season for Sale. Despite a very good WHIP of 1.09, Sale has a high earned run average of 4.41. He also is five games below .500 with a record of six wins and 11 losses. In 25 starts in 2019, Sale has pitched 147 1/3 innings, and given up 123 hits, 72 earned runs, 24 home runs and 37 walks.
However the one statistic that is mighty impressive for Sale is his strikeout totals. Currently at 218 strikeouts, Sale not only leads the Red Sox, but is second in Major League Baseball in strikeouts. Only Gerrit Cole of the Houston Astros has more strikeouts than Sale with 226 strikeouts.
The Red Sox will not be able to catch the New York Yankees for first in the American League East, as the Red Sox are 17.5 games back of their biggest baseball rival. Even with a record of 63 wins and 59 losses, they are eight games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wildcard spot in the American League.