Chris Sale leads the American League in strikeouts and owns the second-lowest ERA but that dominance hasn’t translated into the win column for the fireballing left-hander. Sale will be looking to receive some offensive support as he makes his sixth start of the season for the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
Boston led the major leagues in runs last year so its lack of offensive ineptitude with Sale on the mound has been startling. Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago White Sox in the offseason, Sale has received a scant total of four runs in his 37 2/3 innings on the mound from the Red Sox, who managed six hits in a 5-2 loss in Monday’s series opener. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, booed loudly Monday for his involvement in a slide that injured Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia 11 days earlier, responded with a home run and a number of sparking defensive plays as Baltimore reclaimed first place in the AL East. Orioles closer Zach Britton, who led the AL with 47 saves in 2016, is expected to be activated off the disabled list Tuesday.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Alec Asher (1-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (1-2, 1.19)
Asher was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make a spot start in his season debut at Toronto on April 15 and permitted one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision. The 25-year-old made just two relief appearances since, including a scoreless frame against the Red Sox on April 23. Asher was 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in five starts with the Philadelphia Phillies last season.
Despite becoming the fourth Boston pitcher to ever register double-digit strikeouts in four consecutive starts, Sale came up empty in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees last time out. He was overpowering in his previous turn at Toronto, fanning 13 and allowing four hits over eight scoreless innings but had to settle for a no-decision. Mark Trumbo is 5-for-14 with a homer and two doubles off Sale.
1. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop collected two hits Monday to run his hitting streak to seven games.
2. Red Sox OF Andrew Benintendi is 5-for-14 with two homers and four RBIs during a four-game hitting streak.
3. Orioles C Welington Castillo missed the series opener due to spasms in his neck.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3