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Braves’ Chris Sale strikes out 10 vs. Red Sox in first game against old team since trade: ‘Glad I didn’t suck’

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The Boston Red Sox took on a familiar face Wednesday night, and it did not go well. Left-hander Chris Sale struck out a season-high 10 batters in six shutout innings against his former team, helping the Atlanta Braves to a 5-0 win (box score). Sale has a 2.95 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings this season.

“Facing your friends and your old team is exciting,” Sale said following Wednesday’s game (via The Athletic). “So, I’m glad I didn’t suck.”

In the first inning Wednesday, Sale struck out Vaughn Grissom — the player he was traded for — with runners on second and third to end the frame. Grissom went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Sale and 0 for 4 in the game overall. Here are Sale’s 10 strikeouts:

The Braves traded Grissom for Sale (and cash) in December and soon thereafter signed the seven-time All-Star to a two-year contract extension. The Red Sox saved some money and added a young infielder while the Braves found a creative way to add a potentially great starter during a slow offseason. Seven starts into 2024, Sale has indeed been an impact pitcher.

“It’ll be fun. It’s like playing golf against your buddies,” Sale told NESN earlier this week about facing the Red Sox. “You always enjoy that rivalry, that friendly rivalry. At the end of the day, once you step in between the lines, all bets are off. It’s me vs. you. It’s us vs. them. And we’re trying to win … There’s just a certain level of respect we’ll always have for each other, again, off the field and before the game. It’s different, but once the lights flick on and it’s time to play, we all have jobs to do.”  

As for the Red Sox, they don’t miss Sale one bit. They entered play Wednesday with an MLB best 2.65 ERA, and their starters have a 2.13 ERA. Grissom is 2 for 17 with the Red Sox — he missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury and has played only four games — but, all things considered, it seems like both teams have made out well with the trade.

Wednesday’s win improved the Braves to 22-12 on the young season. The surprising Red Sox are 19-18 after finishing in last place last season.

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