BOSTON -- Chris Sale's ever-changing schedule added another twist on Wednesday when he threw a side session for the second consecutive day.The issue is that Sale was confined to an indoor mound on Tuesday due to soggy weather. He approached Red Sox manager Alex Cora about getting back at it
BOSTON -- Chris Sale's ever-changing schedule added another twist on Wednesday when he threw a side session for the second consecutive day.
The issue is that Sale was confined to an indoor mound on Tuesday due to soggy weather. He approached Red Sox manager Alex Cora about getting back at it again outdoors at Fenway on Wednesday in preparation of his start against the Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Friday night.
Sale has been a hot topic in Boston due to his significantly decreased velocity in his final start of the regular season. The Red Sox and Sale maintain the issue was mechanical and not related to his health. The left-handed ace logged just 17 innings after July 31 due to two stints on the disabled list.
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By throwing again on Wednesday, Sale seemed to be trying to gain additional peace of mind that his mechanical fixes are working, and he can get back to his dominant self on Friday.
"Yesterday was OK, but it was indoors and the facilities here are not great," Cora said. "He went through his repetitions, and today, he showed up and told [pitching coach] Dana [LeVangie], 'Hey, I want to go to the bullpen'. Hey, I'm not going to get in between Chris Sale and his preparation. This guy, he's been great all throughout his career, and he knows what he needs to do to be ready Friday, and he told Dana he wanted to. So, yeah, he went out and pitched."
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Sale continues to work on regaining the extension in his delivery that has made him such a dominant force throughout his career. Sure, there will be some angst until the first pitch on Friday, but Cora is confident the lefty will be where he needs to be.
"We're going to have to wait until Friday to see if it worked," Cora said. "But one thing for sure: If there's velocity there or he goes up to 99 or he's throwing 95 or he's throwing 91, he's still a great pitcher. He showed it. He did it in Cleveland [on Sept. 21] against a great lineup. The other day was a grind. One pitch at the end kind of like changed the whole complexion of the game. It was a slider to Adam Jones.
"As far as him competing and his slider and his changeup, it's still good. It's just the separation, obviously, and what makes hitters uncomfortable. He's going to compete, and we're going to be fine with him, and I do feel he's going to go deep into the game regardless of if he's throwing 90 or 99."
Cora 'comfortable' with 'pen
For all the talk about Boston's bullpen entering the postseason, Cora expressed confidence in his relief corps.
"I've been saying all along, I'm comfortable with it," Cora said. "Just have to go out there Friday, and hopefully, we've got the lead. Give the ball to 'X' guy and 'X' guy, and they'll give it to [Craig] Kimbrel and we'll go from there."
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Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier figure to be two of the "X" guys Cora is referring to. Steven Wright could also be a weapon out of the bullpen with his knuckleball.
"Bring him in in a situation we feel he can slow down the offense and give us a chance to catch up with them," Cora said. "Also, you never know. We could have a lead and he can go out there and give us three [innings] and change the pace of the game, and then we can go to the other guys. There's not a situation specifically [for Wright], but I know he's a big part of it and he can give us multiple innings."
Fan for a night
Aside from managing the Red Sox, Cora is also as big a baseball fan as there is. Therefore, he thoroughly enjoyed watching Tuesday's drama-filled National League Wild Card Game, in which the Rockies outlasted the Cubs in 13 innings.
"That was just fun to watch," Cora said. "Obviously, there are certain situations that you kind of realize you're going to be in that spot on Friday. People are going to dissect every move you make the way I did yesterday. It was a good atmosphere. It was a great start for the playoffs. It was awesome, those two teams."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.