Why Chris Sale believes 2021 Red Sox are like 'sandpaper'

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Sale's explanation for Red Sox' success involves ... sandpaper? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Amid all the talk about sticky substances in Major League Baseball, Chris Sale decided to discuss abrasives rather than adhesives Thursday.

The Red Sox pitcher held a video press conference as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery and was asked what impressed him most about this Boston team, which entered Thursday with the American League's best record at 50-31.

"Just the grit," Sale said, as seen in the video above. "When I think of this team I just think of grit -- like just sandpaper.

"There’s not an ounce of quit in anybody. This is a team that’s kind of constructed with grinder guys. Guys that just don’t take no for an answer, never give up. How many come-from-behind wins have we had?"

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The answer to Sale's question is a major-league-leading 28 comeback wins for the Red Sox, including their last three victories against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Boston's "grinders" have played a key role in those comeback victories, with players like Christian Vazquez and Kike Hernandez delivering clutch hits while the bullpen holds up its end of the bargain.

"How many times have we been down three, four runs in the first inning, second inning, or in the sixth or seventh inning and come back and gotten that?" Sale said.

"If and when our starter did stumble a little bit, our offense is right there to pick us up. Bullpen is right there to keep it where it’s at."

If Boston has a weakness, it's starting pitching: The rotation's 4.57 ERA ranked 21st in baseball entering Thursday. Sale will look to change that as he eyes a rehab assignment in the near future, and the Red Sox ace could be central to the team's playoff push.

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Manager Alex Cora pointed out Wednesday that the Red Sox are far from perfect and need to avoid making mistakes that dig themselves a hole in the first place.

But Sale believes it's a great sign that his teammates have found ways to overcome those mistakes and rack up wins.

"I think this team is really gritty. We find ways to win on days that we probably shouldn’t win and that’s a good quality to have," Sale added.