• Only two pitchers have ever struck out at least 10 batters in eight straight MLB starts. One was Pedro Martinez, the other Chris Sale—and now Sale is closing in on doing it again.
By Michael Beller
May 13, 2017

Two pitchers in the entire history of Major League Baseball have struck out at least 10 batters in eight straight starts. After Saturday, one of those pitchers is one start away from doing it a second time.

Chris Sale fanned 12 Rays in a 6–3 Red Sox victory on Saturday. It was Sale’s seventh consecutive start with at least 10 strikeouts, making him just the second starter in major league history with two such streaks. The other is Pedro Martinez, who turned the strikeout into an art form in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Sale is doing the same 18 years after Martinez, and also as a Red Sox. Sale has reached a streak of seven starts with at least 10 strikeouts for the second time in three years.

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After Saturday's win over the Rays, Sale has 78 strikeouts in his last seven starts, covering 52 ⅔ innings. He's one more 10-strikeout start away from matching his own record, which he shares with Martinez. At this point, he'll be favored to at least create a three-way tie, counting himself twice. Assuming Sale stays on schedule, his next start will come against the A’s next Friday. The A’s own the sixth-highest strikeout rate in the majors at 23.8%, which should make them a willing foe to one of the league’s most graceful strikeout pitchers.

Sale hasn't necessarily been perfect during his streak. In fact, he allowed a pair of homers in his 12-strikeout game against the Rays on Saturday. Still, with all the whiffs he has racked up, he has been able to galvanize the Boston rotation. One more start along those lines will put him back in the league’s history books.

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