Halfway through the 2019 season Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox are still trying to put their championship pieces back together. Although his brilliance has shined through at points throughout this first half, the southpaw is still looking for the consistency that has made him an All-Star each of the last seven years.
Ups and Downs
On the heels of signing a five-year extension to stay in Boston, Sale’s season has been as touch-and-go as anybody.
Through 17 starts Sale’s 3.82 ERA is worse than any season in his career. On pace for just six wins this season, he hasn’t seen a win total that low since 2010 and 2011 when he pitched out of the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox.
Sale’s inconsistencies began on Opening Day in Seattle. He lasted just three innings and gave up seven runs — three of which came by way of the long-ball. Since that March afternoon we have seen not one, but two immaculate innings, as well as a complete-game shutout from the lefty. However, Sale has also given up at least one home run in 10 of his 17 starts this season.
Trouble at Fenway
In his most recent showing Sale tossed six full innings. However, not without allowing five early runs on six hits and two hit batsman. This is the latest mediocre start from the lefty at Fenway Park — where he hasn’t received a win in almost a full calendar year.
July 11, 2018 was the last time Sale won a decision in Boston. Since that date he has a 5.51 ERA at Fenway Park and a record of 0-2 with 10 no decisions. This ranks last among his fellow starters — David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez — since that date.
It isn’t all his fault though; in 2019 Sale has gotten the worst run support among the Boston starters. On average the Red Sox lineup only scores 3.94 runs per game when Sale takes the mound. This number is even more astonishing when compared to the 4.71 for Price, 5.44 for Porcello, and 7.44 for Rodriguez.
The Second-Half Outlook
If Boston has any hope of making it back to October this season, the finger could be pointed at a number of players who have room to improve — Sale is no doubt towards the top of this list.
Chris Sale returning to being a bonafide ace is the first step to Boston regaining the glory of 2018. Commanding the fastball and slider will be key in keeping the home runs numbers at bay. His 13 home runs allowed this season ranks second on the team only behind Rodriguez.
Main Photo:Embed from Getty Images