RANGERS (34-20) AT RED SOX (34-32)
7:10 p.m. ET; NESN, FSSW, MLB.TV
Immaculate his last time out, Chris Sale will look to get the Boston Red Sox back on track when they welcome the Texas Rangers for the start of a four-game series Monday night.
Sale (2-7, 3.84 ERA) takes the mound with the Red Sox having lost three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. Boston was outscored 21-9 in the series and is now seven games back of first place in the American League East.
The Rangers come in surging, having won nine of their last 13 games, though they are still 9 1/2 back of the Houston Astros in the AL West. Left-hander Mike Minor (5-4, 2.55 ERA) takes the mound opposite Sale.
Sale is coming off a three-hit shutout against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. During the outing, the southpaw registered his second immaculate inning (striking out the side on nine pitches) of the season, joining Lefty Grove (1928) as the only pitchers to accomplish that feat twice in the same year.
Despite his win-loss record, Sale has been in a groove since the start of May, producing a 2.28 ERA over his past seven starts. He has punched out at least 10 batters in six of those outings.
Sale is 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 14 career games (10 starts) against the Rangers, but Texas’ offense this year is No. 2 in the majors in scoring. Even in a loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, the Rangers scored five runs in the final two innings before ultimately falling short, 9-8.
“A lot of emotions up and down,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Once again, it shows the resiliency of our team. We can be down eight runs and it doesn’t matter. We keep coming non-stop.”
Similar to Sale, Minor has been on a roll lately, posting a 2.08 ERA in his past eight starts. He struck out seven in 5 2/3 scoreless innings during a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Minor has faced Boston eight times (four starts), going 1-3 with a 3.77 ERA.
The Red Sox are No. 5 in the majors in scoring, though it hasn’t looked that way of late. Boston went 5-for-36 with runners in scoring position during its series against Tampa Bay as star slugger J.D. Martinez (back spasms) missed all four games.
“We’re not producing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s it. We haven’t been consistent. Last year we were very consistent from Day 1 until the end. We haven’t been consistent. …
“We’ve got to keep getting better. We’ve got to keep working, we’ve been saying that all along. Texas is playing well, too. … We’ve got to do what we’re supposed to do.”
Cora said Martinez would receive treatment and go through a workout Monday before a decision is made on his availability.
Monday marks the first of seven games between the Red Sox and Rangers this year. The teams will meet again in Texas in the second-to-last series of the season, Sept. 24-26.
–Field Level Media