2017-07-11 / Sports

Boston’s Chris Sale to start All-Star game

The Associated Press


In a year when it seems just about everyone is a power hitter, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer know what awaits in tonight’s All-Star game.

The American League’s starting batting order has combined for 181 home runs, led by New York Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge with 30. The National League’s lineup has 158, topped by 26 from hometown star Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins.

That’s a whole lot of long balls.

“I’m gonna grip and rip as usual,” Sale said Monday when AL manager Brad Mills announced the Boston ace will become the first pitcher to make consecutive All-Star starts representing different teams.

Sale has given up 11 homers after allowing a career-high 27 last year. Scherzer, who opens for the National League, tied for the NL high by giving up 31 homers last season and has allowed 13 this year.

There have been 3,343 home runs in 1,327 games this season, a rate that would leave this season’s total at 6,122 — on track to break the record of 5,693 hit in 2000 during the height of the Steroids Era.

Then with the Chicago White Sox, Sale pitched the first inning of last year’s game at San Diego and allowed a two-out home run to Kris Bryant. Sale was traded in December for top prospects.

Sale will be the 16th pitcher to make consecutive All-Star starts, the first since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2000- 01 and the first in the AL since Toronto’s Dave Stieb in 1983- 84. Born in Lakeland, about 240 miles northwest of Miami, the 28-year-old lefthander is 11-4 with a 2.75 ERA and a major league-leading 178 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings.

Scherzer, a 32-year-old right-hander who heads Washington’s rotation, also will be making his second All-Star start. Then with Detroit, he pitched a perfect inning at New York’s Citi Field in 2013, when Sale followed with a pair of 1-2-3 innings and got the win. Scherzer will be the fifth pitcher to start All-Star Games for both leagues, following Vida Blue, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Johnson. Scherzer is 10-5 with a 2.10 ERA and 173 strikeouts.

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