BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale came out with no long sleeves under his jersey on Sunday afternoon while pitching in the coldest game-time temperature (34 degrees) at Fenway Park since April 17, 2003.The lefty was in typically dominant form, if not as economic as he would have preferred,
BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale came out with no long sleeves under his jersey on Sunday afternoon while pitching in the coldest game-time temperature (34 degrees) at Fenway Park since April 17, 2003.
The lefty was in typically dominant form, if not as economic as he would have preferred, holding the Orioles to two hits and a run over five innings while walking two and striking out eight. He took a no-decision, but the scorching Red Sox (13-2) went on to a 3-1 victory.
Instead of pretending he tuned out the weather, Sale was candid in admitting how difficult the conditions were with the temperature just two degrees north of freezing and the wind whipping around at 23 mph.
"That was miserable," said Sale. "Nothing short of miserable. But like I've said before, I'm probably the warmest person out there. I was just honestly trying to get the ball and go, get my guys in the dugout as quick as I could."
Sale threw 93 pitches, 56 of them for strikes, and was replaced by Richard Hembree to open the sixth.
"Outstanding," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Going into the game, we knew the conditions were going to be like that, and for him to give us five and a chance to win the game, that's what we were asking for. Today wasn't about the pitch count or going deep into the game. It was, 'Go out there and compete and give us a chance,' and he did."
The fact Sale pitched for the White Sox from 2010-16 means he is no stranger to pitching in cold temperatures -- both early and late in the season.
However, not even the Windy City at its most unpleasant could prepare Sale for the Fenway elements on Sunday.
"Today was the worst," said Sale. "I said it when I came out of the game. This was the most miserable I've ever been on a baseball field by far. Not even close."
In truth, facing Sale -- who has a 1.23 ERA -- wasn't very much fun for the Orioles.
"Chris Sale is tough," said Orioles slugger Chris Davis. "He's one of the best in the big leagues. He's tough when it's sunny and 75."
As a courtesy to the fans who braved the elements, the Red Sox posted on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth that free hot chocolate was available throughout the ballpark.
The Red Sox had to do other things to make the conditions bearable for their starting pitcher.
"I just beelined it straight to the tunnel [between innings]," said Sale. "Hats off to our training staff. They did everything they could to keep me in it, keep me loose. Rubbing red hot on my arm, putting heat packs on. Those guys were running up and down the stairs getting me stuff to make sure I was loose and doing stuff to my arm and making sure I was ready to go out there. That was a huge factor in it too, those guys being in my corner."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.