The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox have had a rather disappointing start to the 2019 MLB season. A 3-9 record to begin the title defense is not what the Red Sox wanted. There are many reasons for the slow start, from the bats not being able to produce runs, or the bullpen not even being serviceable, or the starters giving up homerun after homerun. The most concerning player from the beginning of this season though has been the $145 million dollar man Chris Sale. After getting the 5-year extension that he wanted Sale has not started the season as he usually does. Sale is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA and has pitched 13 innings. With 13 earned runs given up so far, he is on pace for a run an inning. Now, of course, Sale won’t stay this much below the level he is used to playing, the starters velocity is something to be concerned about in the long run.
“This Wasn’t Us Not Playing Good, This Was Me Sucking Today”
After a promising beginning to opening day at Fenway Park on Tuesday, it became apparent it was going to be another rough game. Chris Sale went 4IP, 7H, 5ER, 3K in the loss to the Blue Jays. Sale was seemingly frustrated after the game saying, “I don’t know if I’ve ever pitched like this in my life”. This was supposed to be the game the ace got back on track but it just didn’t happen. With an average velocity around 89-91 mph, there is reason for concern in the clubhouse. Alex Cora told the press that Sale has been dealing with an illness that has been messing with his stomach, but Sale refuted this statement by saying he needs to play better and that’s all there is to it. It isn’t just the fastball that has struggled the off-speed stuff has also been inconsistent according to manager Alex Cora. “He wasn’t able to put hitters away,” Cora said. “Velocity was 91, 92. Showed some flashes of 94, 95 at the end. But as far as the off-speed, slider, a little inconsistent … the changeup wasn’t great.” This is not a good sign for a pitcher that has already had problems burning out in September and October.
If the Red Sox want to have a chance at repeating it has to start with the man at the No. 1 spot in the rotation. Maybe a stint on the DL will fix things but something has to be figured out because there are another 5 years of this and the Sox invested a lot of money on a pitcher who is really struggling to reach his stride.
Sale will be on the mound again Mon. April 15 against the Baltimore Orioles.