David Price more or less has walked a mile in Chris Sale’s shoes, even if the circumstances aren’t identical. So who better to offer some perspective amid Sale’s shaky beginning to 2019?
The Boston Red Sox have lost each of Sale’s six starts this season, with the left-hander (0-5) posting a 6.30 ERA. It’s been an alarming development for the defending World Series champions — especially with Sale signing a five-year, $145 million contract extension this offseason that doesn’t begin until 2020 — but Price showed in 2018 the narrative can change at any point.
“Everybody’s going to struggle at some point, especially in this profession,” Price told MassLive.com on Monday. “You’ve just got to find ways to combat that, get back on track. He’s doing everything in his power. His start (Sunday) was a lot better than what it looked. Just keep building on these last couple of starts. He punched out 10 two starts ago. (Sunday) he went seven innings, gave up two earned runs. Looked more like himself.”
Price is right. (No pun intended.) Sale has improved in recent outings. Expectations understandably are high, however, and Sale hasn’t lived up to his reputation as a perennial All-Star so far this season.
Price can relate, having gone through a lengthy rough patch — particularly in the postseason — after signing a seven-year, $217 million contract with Boston before the 2017 campaign. But he’s adamant Sale must figure out things by himself, even though Price, who bounced back from his own woes to become a playoff hero in 2018, is available for advice if necessary.
“Ask him. I can’t tell you. Everybody’s different,” Price told MassLive.com. “What I need to do might be different than what he needs to do. If a guy gets off track, there’s a bunch of different things he can do to get back on track. There’s no book you can read that will tell you this is the right way to do it. This is something you’ve got to figure out kind of on your own.
“He knows I’m here for him. He knows I’m here to talk to him about any of this. We talked about that a couple weeks ago. I’m here for him. Anything he wants to bounce off of me, cool. I’m here for him. It’s something he’s going to have figure out.”
Sale’s issues on the mound are a microcosm of the Red Sox’s season, as Boston entered Wednesday with a 12-17 record.