Boston Red Sox

Sox still in talks, but preparing for arbitration hearings


Sox still in talks, but preparing for arbitration hearings

BOSTON -- Salary arbitration hearings are set to begin Tuesday in Florida and run for the next three weeks. The Red Sox have two unsigned players -- David Ortiz and Alfredo Aceves -- threatening to end their 10-year streak of avoiding arbitration hearings.

General manager Ben Cherington wouldn't reveal when the players' hearing are scheduled.

"I'd prefer not to make them public," said Cherington, "but we're preparing for them."

Ortiz filed a request for 16.5 million, with the Red Sox filing at 12.65 million. Aceves, meanwhile, filed at 1.6 million, with the Red Sox countering at 950,000.

"I wouldn't want to handicap (the odds of avoiding a hearing)," said Cherington. "We're just going to prepare for the cases. We'll continue to talk right up to the hearing. We'll see what happens. But as soon as you exchange (figures), you have to be prepared to go to a hearing. That's what we're doing."

The Sox and Ortiz are almost 4 million apart -- arbitrators must pick one number or the other, with no middle ground -- but Cherington said the should the Sox go to a hearing and lose, it wouldn't necessarily affecttheir budget.

"I don't think significantly, no," he said. "If you go to a hearing, there's a chance you win and a chance you lose and it changes your payroll to some degree. To that extend, it can affect things a little bit, but Iwouldn't say it's significant."

Sale gets strikeout No. 300 as Red Sox shut out O's, 9-0


Sale gets strikeout No. 300 as Red Sox shut out O's, 9-0

BALTIMORE - Chris Sale struck out 13 to become the first AL pitcher in 18 years to reach the 300 mark, and the Boston Red Sox moved to the brink of clinching a playoff berth by beating the Baltimore Orioles 9-0 on Wednesday night.

Sale (17-7) reached the milestone on his last pitch, a called third strike against Ryan Flaherty to end the eighth inning. The last AL pitcher to fan 300 batters in a season was Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he set a club record with 313.

Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero homered for the Red Sox, who reduced their magic number for reaching the postseason to one. If the Angels lost to Cleveland later Wednesday night, Boston would be assured no worse than a wild-card spot in the AL playoffs.

The Red Sox, of course, would prefer to enter as AL East champions. They hold a three-game lead over the second-place Yankees with 10 games left.

After winning two straight 11-inning games over the skidding Orioles, Boston jumped to a 6-0 lead in the fifth and coasted to its 11th win in 14 games.

Sale notches his 300th strikeout of the season


Sale notches his 300th strikeout of the season

BALTIMORE — One of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in Red Sox history saw a milestone toppled Wednesday night. 

In a dominant start vs. the Orioles at Camden Yards, Chris Sale became the first American League pitcher this century to strike out 300 batters in a season. He also put himself in striking distance of the Red Sox single-season record for Ks, 313.

Sale is the 14th different pitcher since 1920 to reach the 300 mark. The only other pitcher to do so in a Red Sox uniform was Pedro Martinez, who set the club record of 313 in 1999.

Sale was at 12 strikeouts and 99 pitches through seven innings Wednesday night with the Sox ahead 6-0. The offense added two more runs in the top of the inning, prompting Sox manager John Farrell to warm up righty Austin Maddox.

But Sale nonetheless took the mound. The first two batters of the inning grounded out. On a 2-2 pitch to the left-handed hitting Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a front-door slider that caught Flaherty looking. It was his 111th pitch of the night.

Sale has two more scheduled starts, although he may only make one more. 

His final appearance of the regular season projects to be Game No. 162 against the Astros. If the Sox have the American League East wrapped up, Sale could well be held out of that game. 

The Sox and Astros meet for four games to end the regular season at Fenway Park, and may be first-round opponents if the Indians maintain the best record in the AL and therefore home field advantage.

The last time a pitcher in either league struck out 300 was 2015, when Clayton Kershaw did so for the Dodgers.

Sale was in line for his 17th win Wednesday, tying his career high.