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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Sale sounds like a Cy

August 10. 2017 10:40PM
Boston starter Chris Sale delivers a pitch during the first inning of an Aug. 1 game against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

With Chris Sale continuing to pile up incredible numbers, this is a good time to compare his numbers to two other Cy Young seasons by the Red Sox pitchers.

• Roger Clemens, 1986.

• Pedro Martinez, 1999.

Sale improved to 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA with his latest gem, in St. Petersburg the other night. The Red Sox have scored five runs in his four losses. Sale has 15 games of 10 strikeouts or more.

Turn the clock back to August, 1986 and we see Clemens having lost two straight to fall to 17-4 with a 2.41 ERA, with five double-figure K games. He didn’t lose the rest of the season, finishing 24-4 with a 2.48 and the first of his seven Cy Young Awards. He struck out 238 in 254 innings.

Then, on to Pedro, who, as of this date in ’99, was 16-3 with a 2.46 and 11 games of 10 Ks or more. He went on to finish 23-4 with a 2.07 and 313 Ks in 213 1/3 innings and won the first of his three Cy Youngs.

From @Redsoxnotes: Most 10-strikeout games in a season, Red Sox history: Pedro Martinez — 19 (1999); Pedro Martinez — 15 (2000); Chris Sale — 15 (2017).

As the Red Sox take their eight-game winning streak and four-game lead into Yankee Stadium this weekend, Sale appears to be en route to his first Cy and hopes to pitch in his first postseason. But since we’re on the topic of comparison, let’s bring Corey Kluber into the discussion.

The Indians ace, on target to face Sale in the first game of the ALDS, has fought injury but is 10-3 with a 2.65 and 12 games of double-digit Ks — and he has fanned 60 in the last five.

Kluber went all the way beat the Rockies this week and hasn’t lost since July 4.

“He’s a really good pitcher,” said Colorado’s D.J. LeMahieu. “... (Clayton) Kershaw and (Madison) Bumgarner, we see them all the time, but we see them. A guy like Kluber, we don’t see a whole lot. I think it makes it that much more difficult. He’s really good.”

TJ Tribute

Tommy John was a teammate of Don Baylor’s with the Angels in 1982 and passed along the following words, via Facebook, after Baylor’s passing.

“Here’s a Don Baylor story,” TJ wrote. “This will show why he was THE BEST TEAMMATE!! 1982 Angels are in the playoffs (against the Milwaukee Brewers) and they have their lefty pitcher on the mound ... me!! Angels traded for me to help win. I had not pitched badly but not good either. I start the game pitching OK. 2nd inning I scuffled badly. Gave up a 3 run HR. I was smoking hot. That’s not Tommy John. In the dugout I’m cursing, slam banging whatever I can find. My head was down and I saw a pair of baseball shoes in front of me. I look up and it’s Don. “Get your head up and bear down. Hold them there with 3 runs. (Mike) Caldwell cant get me out. I’m good for 4-5 runs. We win 5-3. Is that a deal?” We shook hands. Well Don wasn’t good for 4. He was good for 6 runs!! I had never been talked to like that but that was Don Baylor. He took the bull by the horns. That’s a team leader. He was THE BEST!!!”

While the baseball world lost Baylor and Darren Daulton, the “it happens in threes theory” was furthered by the death of colorful umpire Ken Kaiser.

“Ken Kaiser, former MLB umpire, dies at 72; the game has many characters in its history & Kenny was one; RIP my man,” tweeted Dave Winfield.

From Wade Boggs: “Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ken Kaiser MLB umpire on his passing. One of my favorites RIP Kenny.”

It was Kaiser who raced into home plate from his spot at second base, saw a ball on the ground near Rich Gedman and called Kirk Gibson safe after the violent collision at home KO’d umpire Larry Barnett. The actual ball was in Gedman’s glove, the one on the ground popping out of the umpire’s ball bag. I asked Gedman after the game why he didn’t show Kaiser the ball and he said, “I didn’t know I had to.”

Dee plane, dee plane

The Patriots are the first team to purchase their own planes for charter travel. Makes sense. It also made sense for Bedford native and Manchester West grad Seth Meyers to comment on it, saying, “The New England Patriots have become the first NFL team to buy their own planes to fly to games, while the Cleveland Browns have been downgraded to the overhead bin on Spirit Airlines.”

The Pats played the first of those ever-enjoyable preseason games Thursday night, which basically means two things: The NFL fans continue to get ripped off by these games — and we’re within a month of the actual opener.

Vince Wilfork retired as a Patriot this week, not long after current Pat Rob Ninkovich decided he was all done as a player. You know he will remain close to the game.

Bill Belichick on Wilfork: “Vince is a great player, had a great athletic career, great player here, did a lot for our football team in a lot of different ways on and off the field, He’s a special, special player.”

There have been a series of injuries down in Foxborough, but the fun story appears to be Brandin Cooks, and what he can add to Tom Brady’s offense.

Asked last week about this corps of wide receivers, Cooks said, “Oh man, it’s a competitive group. Everyone has their special traits. We make each other better. There is no selfishness in the room and that’s what a group is all about. When you have a group like that, you tend to see it more than not.”

Here and there

The Bruins will again participate in the prospects tournament in Buffalo Sept. 8 -11. … Jay Bruce goes to the Indians and brings with him a .384 batting average with four homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.031 OPS in 23 inter-league games at Progressive Field. … Isaiah Thomas, who visited Pats camp this week, continues to hope his “Brink’s truck” backs up to only one door. “Boston knows where my heart is at. I would love to be back. I would love to be here for years to come,” he says. … Hawk Harrelson, who will work 20 games in 2018 as his farewell, says, “I will never set foot” in Wrigley again but also says, “If I do make a trip, it would certainly be Boston. In my playing career, playing in the All-Star Game, the World Series, that certainly supersedes anything else I ever did in my life.” … Classy move by Robert Kraft giving Brady’s mom, Galynn, a Super Bowl ring. … Best wishes to Jerry Remy as he starts chemo. … Next 10 games for the Yankees? Three this weekend with the Red Sox, four with the Mets and three more with the Sox. … The NFL is hiring 24 full-time refs. About time. … David Price will pay tribute to his dog, not his son, with Astro’s Dad on the back of his Aug. 25 gimmick jersey. He could have gone with “Sorry Eck” and won back all the fans who dislike him. …

From @Bostonglobesports: “Dwayne Allen has a personal mantra. “I have said it my entire career: We are all on one-day contracts.” … From MassLive’s Chris Smith: “Chris Sale also has just 29 walks compared to his 229 strikeouts. That’s insane. Plus, the opposition is batting .193 against him.” … The NBA schedule, out soon, will seriously cut down some of the ridiculous four games in five nights, five in seven, etc. … From @alannarizzo: “Kyle Seager wins the Players Weekend nicknames, going with “Corey’s Brother”.” … Opinion? Colin Kaepernick is a better football player than Jay Cutler. “He can help a team,” Oakland’s Derek Carr says of Kaepernick. … The woeful Jets had one legitimate wide receiver, Quincy Enunwa, and he’s gone for the year. …

Do the Astros get Justin Verlander? They need him. … Monday was the 18th anniversary of Boggs homering for his 3,000th hit. … The Patriots are running their seventh straight road trip raffle — $10 per ticket and 15 for $100 — at …

Finally, Minnesota junior senator, Al Franken, has his Vikings beating the Pats in the Super Bowl. This season’s game is being played in Minneapolis.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is

Sports columns Patriots/NFL Red Sox/MLB Celtics/NBA Bruins/NHL