Baseball Daily Dose

Chris Sale's Immaculate Collection

by Janice Scurio
Updated On: August 27, 2021, 9:28 am ET

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Chris Sale made history yet again on Thursday night, as he threw an immaculate inning versus the Minnesota Twins. Sale’s third inning consisted of nine pitches, for nine strikes, and subsequently, three strikeouts; he led off by luring Nick Gordon into a swinging strikeout on the third pitch. Next, the same fate awaited Andrelton Simmons as he swung at a four-seam fastball. Rob Refsnyder came next, swinging at strike three, this time on a slider. All in all, the third inning consisted of three fouled balls, two called strikes, and four swinging strikes for nine strikes total. 

Sale joined some esteemed company on Thursday, as he and Sandy Koufax are the only pitchers in Major League Baseball history to have thrown three immaculate innings.  Prior to tonight, the last Red Sox pitcher to throw an immaculate inning at Fenway Park was Pedro Martinez, who threw an immaculate first inning on May 18, 2002, against the Seattle Mariners.

The last three immaculate innings thrown by Red Sox pitchers have all been recorded by Chris Sale: the seventh inning on May 8, 2019 in Baltimore, the eighth inning on June 5, 2019 in Kansas City, and now the newest entry, the third inning of Thursday’s game.

Sale’s final line included two runs off two hits in five-plus innings pitched; he also walked two and struck out eight. Sale’s immaculate inning included swinging strikes from his fastball and slider; he finished the game with an outstanding 34% CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) on his entire arsenal. This was Sale’s third start since coming back to the Red Sox rotation on August 14, post recovery from Tommy John surgery. Immaculacy aside, Sale’s been terrific for the Red Sox: in 15 1/3 innings pitched over three starts, he holds a 3-0 record, an impressive 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Keegan Akin vs. Angels

7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 26% CSW 

The Orioles have accomplished a respectable bounce-back: a two game winning streak and a series win, after snapping a 19-game losing streak, the second-longest in franchise history. The 26-year-old’s 0-8 record and 7.26 ERA might have appeared ghastly before today, but he sparkled in this outing, throwing 92 pitches, 62 of them for strikes. Akin tossed a career-high seven innings and earned his first win since September 16, 2020.

Sonny Gray vs. Brewers

6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 36% CSW

The curveball was an especially effective pitch - it was Gray’s second most thrown pitch, and was good for 10 called strikes, contributing to a 37% CSW on that pitch alone. Gray has allowed only four hits in his last 13 innings pitched.

Carlos Rodon vs. Blue Jays

5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 30% CSW

In Rodon’s promising return to the White Sox rotation, he was able to lure the Blue Jays into nine swings and misses. He averaged 94.9 mph on his fastball, where his season average sits at 95.8 mph. Rodon had been sidelined with left shoulder fatigue since August 11.

Max Scherzer vs. Padres

7 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 34% CSW

17 swings and misses. Mercy. In this stellar performance, the veteran stymied the division rival Padres with an especially sharp four-seam fastball, locating it nicely for 12 called strikes. His four-seamer’s velocity was also up a tick, registering at 97.2 mph, much higher than its yearly average of 94.3 mph.

Hitters with an EDGE

Pedro Severino vs. Angels

2-for-5, HR, 6 RBI

Severino went deep in the fifth inning for the Orioles’ third grand slam of the year. In addition to his grand slam, he hit a two-run single in the eighth inning, to help the Orioles to a 13-1 rout of the Angels.

Franmil Reyes vs. Rangers

3-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB

What a great past couple of days for Reyes. He hit an RBI double in Thursday’s 10-6 win over the Rangers, a day after a heartwarming story where he dedicated an awesome 451-foot home run to a fan with cancer.

Closing Time

Craig Kimbrel vs. Blue Jays 

1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (24th save) 

Kimbrel nabbed his first save in a White Sox uniform by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Prior to this appearance, Kimbrel had been used experimentally in a setup role. In 9 2/3 innings pitched in the eighth, he has a 5.59 ERA. His ERA in 33 1/3 innings pitched in the ninth? 0.00. 

Dylan Floro vs. Nationals

1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (6th Save)

A one-out, one-and-done save for Floro, who got Riley Adams to fly out for the last out of the ballgame. The 30-year-old has converted six out of 10 possible save opportunities.

Tyler Rogers vs. Mets

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (12th Save)

A clean, three out, ninth inning save for Rogers, consisting of a lineout and two flyouts to end the game. He’s now converted 12 out of 17 save opportunities this year.

Noe Ramirez vs. Phillies

1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K (1st Save)

A rather tense one-out save; after issuing a walk to J.T Realmuto, Ramirez gave up a two-out, two run single to Didi Gregorius to narrow the lead to 8-7 in the ninth inning. He was able to get Brad Miller down on swinging strikes for the third out, and to end the ballgame.

Aroldis Chapman vs. Athletics

1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (24th Save)

Chapman is gradually easing back into the closer role for the Yankees, and looked sharp in this outing, only giving up a hit to Starling Marte. He's now converted 24 out of 28 possible save opportunities.

Scott Barlow vs. Mariners

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB 0 K (9th Save)

A clean line, and a clean ninth inning for Barlow, to lock down his ninth save of the year. 

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Priority Pickup

Ian Happ, OF, Chicago Cubs (Available in 52% of Yahoo Leagues)

Happ has been finding quite a nice rhythm in the batter's box over the past two weeks. In Wednesday’s doubleheader versus the Rockies, Happ had two hits, including a home run in the nightcap. The Cubs outfielder is slashing .357/.423/.738 with four homers, four doubles and 10 RBI over 47 plate appearances in his last 13 games.

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.47 ERA) vs. Max Fried (11-7 3.49 ERA)

The San Francisco Giants have the third lowest ERA in all of Major League Baseball at 3.35, and Gausman is a strong contributor to that composite number. Gausman is also one of four pitchers in 2021 that have allowed no more than two earned runs in a dozen straight starts. In Max Fried’s last start, he threw a 90-pitch shutout, the fewest pitches in a shutout by a Braves pitcher since -- you guessed it, Greg Maddux on September 13, 2000 against the Marlins. Perhaps most interesting about Fried, however, is the potency of his bat: in 48 plate appearances in the pitcher’s spot, he’s slashing .342/.390/.421 including three doubles and five RBI. 

American League Quick Hits

Jorge Mateo (back) remains out of the Orioles' lineup on Thursday. ... Justin Upton (calf) is again absent from the Angels' starting lineup on Thursday...Royals placed RHP Josh Staumont on the injured list. ... Indians placed INF Ernie Clement on the injured list. ... Stephen Piscotty is set to undergo surgery on his left wrist Friday morning. ... Brad Keller was lifted from Thursday's game with an apparent injury. ... Ryan Jeffers was forced out of Thursday's game against the Red Sox with an apparent heel injury.

National League Quick Hits

Trevor Story aggravated a leg injury of some kind on Wednesday night, per Rockies manager Bud Black. ... Willy Adames (quad) remains out of the Brewers' starting lineup on Thursday. ... Tejay Antone is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday. ... Brett Anderson is being evaluated for right hip tightness. ... Rhys Hoskins told reporters on Thursday that he will undergo abdominal surgery next week and that his season is over. ... Zach Eflin (knee) has been scratched from his start Thursday versus Arizona ... Lewis Brinson left Thursday's game with a left thumb sprain ... Curt Casali left Thursday's game versus the Mets with an apparent injury ... Ketel Marte left Thursday’s game with right hip discomfort.

Janice Scurio

Janice Scurio (@scuriiosa) is a writer that has appeared on various baseball podcasts and blogs about the White Sox over at South Side Sox.