As Kevin Pillar watched strike three called, those at Rogers Centre watched Chris Sale become the fastest pitcher in major league history to reach 1,500 career strikeouts.
Chris Sale entered his start against the Toronto Blue Jays with 1,497 career strikeouts in 1288 1/3 innings pitched. He left the mound with not only his 17th double-digit strikeout game of the season and 15th victory, but became the fastest player to reach 1,500 career strikeouts.
"“That’s pretty crazy,” Sale said (per weei.com). “This game has been around a long time. To do that is cool. I appreciate it. I try not to get too caught up in it, but I definitely take a step back and look at it and appreciate it.”"
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Sale began his night by striking out Steve Pearce for strikeout number 1,498. The following inning, Jose Bautista became victim number 1,499 before Sale caught a pitch on the outside edge to sit down Kevin Pillar for number 1,500. Sale went on to blank the Blue Jays through seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 11 without giving up a walk.
Leading up to this historic start, Sale recorded a majority of his strikeouts during his seven-year tenure with the Chicago White Sox. Since becoming a consistent starter in 2012, Sale has averaged 203 innings pitched and 227 strikeouts over the next five seasons. He led the American League with 274 strikeouts in 2015 and looks to top the major leagues with 264 punch-outs this season.
Number 1,500 came in the 1,290 inning pitched of Sale’s career. By doing so, he surpassed Kerry Wood, who set his name atop the list with 1,500 career strikeouts in 1,303 innings pitched from 1998-2010. After him came Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez (1,337 IP), Randy Johnson (1,365.2) and Nolan Ryan (1,384.2). That’s some pretty good company to be in.