Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

John Farrell backs decision to leave Chris Sale in game for 8th inning

Ryan Hannable
October 09, 2017 - 7:07 pm

You knew there would be a decision somewhere in the game to be second-guessed, and it came leading into the eighth inning.

With the Red Sox leading the Astros 3-2, Chris Sale had already gone four scoreless innings of relief on 65 pitches and setup man Addison Reed was ready in the bullpen.

Instead of going with Reed, Sale stayed in the game, but the move didn't pay off as Alex Bregman hit a solo homer to lead off the inning to tie the game at three. Three batters later, Sale was removed from the game, but closer Craig Kimbrel allowed an inherited runner to score and the Astros took a 4-3 lead. Eventually, they held on for a 5-4 win to eliminate the Red Sox.

After the game, manager John Farrell, who was ejected in the second inning, defended the decision to keep Sale in the game.

"Yeah, considered [a right-hander], recognizing where what his power numbers are and his splits are left, right, and not taking anything for granted," Farrell said. "We wanted to be left-handed through the bottom part of that order, particularly the reverse splits of [Yuli] Gurriel, and as well as he's been swinging the bat this series, 2-1 changeup stayed in the middle of the plate."

"I felt like we were in a good position," he added.

Sale finished the game by going 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while not walking a batter and striking out six. It was his first relief appearance since May 8, 2012. The six strikeouts in the game were the third-most by a Red Sox relief pitcher in postseason history, and his 12 strikeouts in the series were a Red Sox ALDS record.

“I felt good, I felt strong. I wish I could have got it done," Sale said.

Sale suffered the loss in two of the three losses in the series.

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