Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Chris Sale lays into Yankees fans on OMF: 'I don't go to New York to make friends'

Alex Reimer
August 16, 2017 - 2:52 pm

Chris Sale is a Red Sox fan’s dream: the left-handed hurler pitches quickly, takes responsibility for his performance and hates the Yankees.

Oh, and he’s also enjoying the best season for a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999.

In an interview Wednesday with OMF as part of the Jimmy Fund Radiothon, Sale talked about how excited he is to pitch in a pennant race for the first time in his career. On Sunday at Yankee Stadium, he struck out 12 batters in seven sterling innings.

“You can feel it,” Sale said when asked about the atmosphere in the Bronx last weekend. “People in New York have never been really nice to me, but they hate me now. I heard some pretty interesting things out in the bullpen last time warming up. … I don’t go to New York to make friends.”

Sale, 28, has flourished in Boston. A Cy Young favorite, he leads the league in wins (14), ERA (2.51), innings pitched (168.1) and strikeouts (241). Accountability, he says, is one of the keys to succeeding in this market. (Perhaps he could share some of that wisdom with his much-maligned teammate, David Price.)

“The biggest thing is accountability. Nobody likes excuses,” Sale explained. “If you suck, you sucked. If you did good, you did good. There’s no reason to make excuses on failure or success. This is a pretty black-and-white game. You either got it, or you didn’t get it done. It doesn’t matter if two guys on the team did good on a losing day. You still lost the game. It doesn’t matter if two guys did really bad on a winning day. You still won the game. I think the more you can focus on the important things, and not so much the little things going on, that’s been my mindset. If we win, I’m good. It doesn’t matter if I give up seven or one. if we win the game, that’s the objective.”

Sale’s dominating performances should be enough to ingratiate him with Red Sox Nation. But on top of that, it’s not usual for his starts to take less than three hours. Like many fans, Sale doesn’t enjoy waiting around the ballpark for an interminable game to finish. 

“Nobody wants to sit around for three hours. Umpires, fans, even the players. We don’t want to be out there for three-and-a-half or four hours. That’s absurd,” he said. “For me, it’s not that hard. I play once per week and have one job: get the ball, throw the ball. Anything else other than that is kind of wasted.”

On that note, it’s been six years since Sale has shaken off a catcher. That’s because he doesn’t like to think too much on the mound, viewing trepidation as a sign of weakness. 

“Good pitches don’t go over the fence. If I give up a home run, it’s more likely a slider that I hung or a fastball that leaked over the plate. It always goes back to location. At the end of the day, if you throw a great pitch and a guy hits it out, you tip your cap. So it leaves no doubt in my mind. I’ve never been a thinker on the baseball field.

“For me, it’s nice to know that I’ve never thrown a pitch that I’ve doubted. iI you start shaking off and doing this other stuff, there’s doubt in your mind.”

There’s an additional reason to love Sale besides the strikeouts and his affinity for crisply pitched games. He’s one of the biggest bargains in baseball, with two options worth $27 million left on his deal. That’s cool with him.

“How can I complain about anything,?” he asked.

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OMF - Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox 8-16-17

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