In the bottom of the eighth inning against the Orioles, after going back out to the mound despite some internet rumblings that another inning could derail his season or postseason, Chris Sale struck out his 300th batter of the season. He had 13 total for the game.
He becomes only the second Red Sox pitcher to do so, and the first AL pitcher since to hit that mark since Pedro Martinez had 313 on the year in 1999.
Overall, he’s only the fourth man to ever hit 300 strikeouts in his first season with a team, following Randy Johnson in 1999, Nolan Ryan in both 1972 and 1989, and Steve Carlton in 1972.
No matter which way you slice it, he’s in good company.
A fun tidbit is that Sale has struck out a selection of 166 different batters this season, with Aaron Judge and Steven Souza Jr. at the top of that list with 10 strikeouts each.
Sale spoke about being spoken about in the same breath as Pedro after the game according to the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton, saying,
“That’s special. We all know that’s about as good a company as you can get. Just appreciative of it. It’s fun. Being here and having that name thrown around is special to me; I don’t take it lightly. He’s one of the best to ever step on that mound. To be in the same sentence as him is pretty crazy to me.”
Last offseason, when the Red Sox gave up some prime prospects including Yoan Moncada, for Sale’s talents there was some concern that it was too much despite the benefits of having him in the rotation.
At this point, even though Moncada has looked good in the majors after his call up with the White Sox, it would be hard to argue with the deal from the Red Sox side of things.
A 300-strikeout pitcher doesn’t come around often and as they maintain their three-game lead in the AL East race against the Yankees, the Red Sox are lucky to have him working for them instead of against them.