Do the Red Sox have an ace? I’m not the guy to ask about handing out that designation, but tonight was easily the most impressive the lefty has looked this season. I’ve broken down a lot of pitching in my brief time at OTM, digging into pitch shapes, sequences, and game plans to evaluate the rotating cast of characters the Red Sox have trotted out this season. I’ve even written about Chris Sale twice (Here, and here). Tonight, you didn’t need a Ph.D. in pitching to figure out that Sale had it tonight. In the first inning against Bryce Harper, it wasn’t a wily veteran sneaking his way through innings. It was Chris Sale toeing the rubber, and saying “Try to hit it” while pumping 99 MPH fastballs by Harper.
Chris Sale, Shoving. pic.twitter.com/UUudczMw2J— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2023
Sale wasn’t throwing 99 all night, and we shouldn’t expect him to, but it is nice to know that he can reach back and find it if he needs to. A lively fastball makes just about everything easier. Having a pitcher who can go six innings consistently would go a long way in keeping the bullpen fresh and effective.
The lineup did their thing, seeing pitches, making productive outs, and getting Zach Wheeler out of the game early. It wasn’t the offensive explosion we’ve seen in other games, but it was enough to get the job done, and that’s all we can ask for. That’s seven straight wins for the Red Sox. Play that Dirty Water.
Kiké Hernandez (.14 WPA, 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI)
Enmanuel Valdez (.11 WPA, 2-for-3, 1 RBI)
Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen (.09 WPA each)
Justin Turner (-.10 WPA, 0-for-5, 1 RBI)
Connor Wong (-.06 WPA, 0-for-4, 1 K)
Triston Casas (-.03 WPA, 0-for-4, 1 RBI)
Play of the Game
The Phillies actually had the top two plays by WPA in the bottom of the fourth as they tied the game, but we’ll give it to Enmanuel Valdez’s groundball single to take the lead back in the sixth inning.
Who was the Red Sox Player of the Game?
This poll is closed