Things were not going well for Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale entering Tuesday. And his outing against the New York Yankees didn’t right the ship.
Sale lasted only five innings in the losing effort. He allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk. When the game was over, Sale offered a blunt assessment of his performance (H/T Ian Browne, MLB.com).
Manager Alex Cora still believes in his ace. He expressed confidence that Sale will find his form again. To that, Sale said (per Raul Martinez, NBC Boston) “I f*****g” hope so.
Anyone looking for optimism does have something to cling to.
Sale’s velocity was significantly down in his first three starts of the season. On Tuesday, he was hitting velocities that we’d grown accustomed to prior to 2019.
Unfortunately, while Sale might have been throwing harder on Tuesday than he did in his first three outings, the final line was remarkably similar.
That’s a sign that he’s not hitting his locations. And if those struggles continue, that’s actually more troubling than the dip in velocity was. A pitcher can get away with a little more if he’s throwing hard, but not much. If Sale isn’t hitting his spots, big league batters are going to hit him hard.
Sale is obviously aware that there’s a problem. Now he has to figure out what it is and most importantly, fix it.