Sale notched his 1,500th career strikeout in the second inning when he punched out Kevin Pillar. As the Elias Sports Bureau noted (via ESPN Stats & Info), the southpaw became the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to reach the 1,500-strikeout mark if going by innings pitched, surpassing former Chicago Cubs ace Kerry Wood:
Boston traded for Sale during the offseason and sent the Chicago White Sox a notable package of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz. While it was a steep price to pay, the Red Sox have been rewarded with one of the best pitchers in the league, and he has helped propel them to the top of the American League East.
He entered Tuesday's contest with a sparkling 2.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 253 strikeouts in 178.1 innings and is a serious American League Cy Young candidate heading into the stretch run.
The six-time All-Star could play a big role in September for the Red Sox, who have a 3.5-game lead over the New York Yankees in the division.
Sale would likely trade the strikeout record and his other individual accomplishments for his first World Series ring during the postseason if he could.