The COVID outbreak that the Red Sox have been dealing with for weeks now is not yet over, and they’ve suffered another big blow on Friday. It is being reported that Chris Sale, who was scheduled to start on Sunday in Chicago, is not going to be making that start as he has tested positive for COVID.
BREAKING: Chris Sale tests positive for COVID-19, will not make scheduled start Sunday.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) September 10, 2021
He is the 12th player to be placed on the COVID list since the outbreak began a couple of weeks ago. It is not clear right now whether or not Sale had been vaccinated, and this outbreak has included breakthrough cases along with positives among players who were not vaccinated. The Red Sox, notably, are one of the few teams that did not reach the 85 percent vaccination threshold this season.
As is the case with all of these positives, we first and foremost are concerned about Sale’s health, not the least of which because of what happened with Eduardo Rodriguez last season and his developing myocarditis after a bout with COVID.
As far as the on-the-field impact goes, it’s obviously a huge blow. This outbreak had not really gotten to the rotation until last week when Nick Pivetta tested positive, and now two rotation members are on the COVID list. Connor Seabold was already expected to start on Saturday, and now the Red Sox will need to look for an answer for Sunday. Pete Abraham suggests that Pivetta may be able to rejoin the team by then, which would be the best-case scenario, but presumably the Red Sox will have a Plan B ready.
The most obvious Plan B would be to get Kutter Crawford, who is scheduled to start for Worcester on Friday, on a plane to Chicago in case he is needed. The righty made his major-league debut last weekend in place of Pivetta and struggled in that start. Boston could also go with a bullpen day, though that might be tough to do given the state of their bullpen right now.
We’ll keep this post updated if/when we get more information about Sale, who will be taking his place on the roster in the short-term, and who will be starting on Sunday.