The Red Sox needed Chris Sale to be Chris Sale on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for Boston, the left-hander turned in another dud.
Sale was roughed up in the series opener against the New York Yankees, allowing four runs on seven hits over just five innings. The poor outing was just the beginning of arguably the Red Sox’s ugliest loss of the season: an 8-0 beatdown by the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium.
Following his latest start, Sale’s record dipped to 0-4 on the campaign to go along with an 8.50 ERA. Those numbers, obviously, are unacceptable for a team’s ace, and Sale himself admitted what he’s done on the mound this season has been “embarrassing.” Still, manager Alex Cora believes it’s only a matter of time before the fiery southpaw turns things around.
“I’m not gonna be surprised if, in his next outing, he’s right where we need him to be,” Cora said, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “I think stuff-wise, if you compare it to the first three, the velocity was there and the slider was better today. I think he’s very close to the quote-on-quote real Chris Sale.”
It did look as though Tuesday was going to be the turning point for Sale, who breezed through the first two innings before running into trouble in the third. The velocity was up to his usual standards, as Cora noted, but the heater wasn’t missing any bats, and the Yankees made Sale pay for every missed pitch. So while his stuff appears to be building up, Sale’s command remains an issue.
Boston’s pitching woes aren’t just limited to Sale, though. The Red Sox’s starting rotation collectively has underperformed thus far, and the unit needs to step it up if the reigning World Series champs have any hope of returning to the postseason.