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May 8, 2024 8:04 am

Braves’ Chris Sale faces familiar foe in Red Sox

Chris Sale

The Atlanta Braves will send left-hander Chris Sale to the mound to face his former team on Wednesday in the finale of a two-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Sale (4-1, 3.44 ERA) will be opposed by Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta (1-1, 0.82), who will be activated from the injured list to make his first start since April 3.

Atlanta won the series opener 4-2 following a two-run rally in the eighth inning on Tuesday. The victory ended the Braves’ three-game losing streak and handed the Red Sox their fourth loss in five games.

Sale will be facing the Red Sox for the first time since being acquired by the Braves in an offseason trade that sent second baseman Vaughn Grissom to Boston. Sale played for the Red Sox from 2017-23, going 46-30 with a 3.27 ERA in 115 starts.

“I had great experiences with everyone there,” Sale said. “I have a lot of love and respect for everyone over there. They were in my corner when I needed them most. I’ll always appreciate that and I’ll never take it for granted.”

Sale pitched five solid innings last Wednesday at Seattle, allowing one run on six hits while recording a season-high nine strikeouts. He earned Atlanta’s only win on its six-game road trip.

Sale is 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 career games (five starts) against the Red Sox.

Pivetta will be activated from the injured list after being out with a right elbow flexor strain. He made a rehab start Triple-A Worcester on Thursday and allowed four runs on three hits and four walks, with five strikeouts in three innings.

“He’s good, he threw the ball well,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “Struggled early with command or the strike zone, whatever it was. Very happy with the way he competed. Velo was good and everything is trending in the right direction.”

Pivetta was pitching well before the injury. He had 13 strikeouts and one walk over 11 innings.

He has 19 career appearances (15 starts) against Atlanta, going 7-4 with a 5.04 ERA. He was 1-1 with a 7.90 ERA against the Braves in 2023, making one start and entering the second game in the second inning after the Red Sox used John Schreiber as an opener.

The Atlanta bullpen took another hit on Tuesday when left-hander Tyler Matzek was placed on the injured list with left elbow inflammation. Last week the Braves placed right-handed setup man Pierce Johnson on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching elbow.

Matzek is trying to return from Tommy John surgery in 2022 and has a 9.90 ERA, allowing 11 runs in 10 innings over 11 relief appearances. Matzek was replaced by left-hander Ray Kerr, who went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in nine appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett.

“I think that’s the biggest thing, just get (Matzek) calmed down and get him back right,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

The Braves will take Thursday off before going to New York for a three-game weekend series against the Mets. The Red Sox, 1-3 on their road trip, are off Thursday and return home for a three-game set versus the Washington Nationals.

–Field Level Media

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