There was plenty of build up to Chris Sale stepping on the mound for the Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
Riddled with injuries over the last three seasons, it was Sale’s first start at Fenway Park since October of 2021. But the highly anticipated outing quickly lost its luster with the Orioles’ bats roughing up Sale.
The lanky lefty gave up two home runs in the opening frame and only lasted three innings, in which he allowed seven runs on seven hits to go along with six strikeouts and two walks.
It was a disappointing performance to say the least and nobody was harder on Sale than himself.
“I left them completely out to dry tonight,” Sale told reporters following Boston’s thrilling 9-8 walk-off win, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “That was about as embarrassed that I’ve ever been on a baseball field. … I was out there throwing batting practice.”
The Orioles were on Sale from the outset, as Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays both took him deep to stake Baltimore to a 3-0 lead before the Red Sox even came up to bat.
The 12-year pro surrendered four more runs in the fourth inning, with Cedric Mullins providing the biggest blow with a three-run home run to center field. Sale, who turned 34 on Opening Day, felt like the Orioles “were waiting for” all of his pitches.
Sale was asked whether it was a tipping of pitches issue, but he wouldn’t go that far.
“Not that I’m aware of. Like I said, I’d have to go back and look. I don’t know if there was anything of that nature,” Sale said. “Sometimes you just suck. And it’s unfortunate. I’ve waited a while to pitch here at Fenway, and to go out there and do that was embarrassing.”
Sale certainly wasn’t looking to pass the blame off of him for his abysmal showing. He shouldered the responsibility like he always does and the outing will most likely stew inside of him before he gets to face the Detroit Tigers on the road next week.
“This one I don’t have any excuse for,” Sale said. “I had a normal spring training. Can’t blame it on that. I’m not hurt. Nothing coming into it. I just sucked today. Sometimes you go out and try hard and do good, and sometimes you go out and try hard and suck. That was unfortunately what happened.”