Boston Red Sox: Are the Indians Chris Sale’s daddy?

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 24: Starting pitcher Chris Sale
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 24: Starting pitcher Chris Sale /

After two consecutive sub par outings, should there be concern about Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale?

Thursday night in Cleveland, Chris Sale did something Boston Red Sox Nation hasn’t seen all season long.  He left the game in the fourth inning.

Fortunately, Sale’s short outing at Progressive Field wasn’t due to injury.  Unfortunately, his shortest stint of the season came after he was smashed by the Indians.  In those three-plus innings, the usually dominant lefty yielded seven hits and seven runs.


Against a team the Boston Red Sox could possibly battle in October, Sale’s showing wasn’t something to be thrilled about.  The 13-6 loss was more frustrating because the Red Sox offense scored enough runs that is usually enough for the AL 2017 Cy Young frontrunner.

Despite the loss, the team as a whole split a four-game series with the Tribe.  With outstanding pitching performances from Doug Fister and Drew Pomeranz along with a solid start from Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox showed Cleveland they can compete.

CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 24: Starter Chris Sale
CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 24: Starter Chris Sale /

But, the Indians also showed Boston that they are in the heads of their new ace. Sale’s struggles Thursday night is nothing new against Cleveland.  This season alone, he is now 0-1 with a staggering 14.63 ERA.  So what is it about the Indians that turns a dominant pitcher like Sale into a less than mediocre hurler?

It’s a Cleveland thing

"“I wish I knew what it was,” Sale said following the game, via  “I’d try to fix it.  I clearly haven’t had my luck against this team, so back to the drawing board and see what we can get tomorrow.”"

As a member of the Chicago White Sox, Chris Sale has faced off against the Indians many times.  It could just be that they have him figured out.  In 18 career starts against the defending American League champions, he is 5-8 with a 5.19 ERA.

Related Story: Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale could contend for AL MVP

Nothing to write home about, but let’s just hope he gets something figured out if and when he faces his nemesis on a bigger stage.

More from Boston Red Sox

Sale gives all the credit to the Indian’s lineup for having his number.  In speaking to the media, he said he wish he “knew why they were having so much success.”  It certainly sounds like they are in his head like the New York Yankees were in the head of Pedro Martinez.

Added motivation

With that being said, it happens to the best, against the best.  What sets Chris Sale apart is his competitive nature.  He’s angry about the outing, but there is no way he’ll back down from the Cleveland Indians.  In fact, this loss has him motivated to face off against them in the postseason.

"“I would love it, I would absolutely love it,” Sale said when asked about the possibility of facing Cleveland in October.  “This is obviously a pretty good little rivalry, even though we’re not in the division or anything like that.  But given what happened last year and the series that we’ve had against each other this year, they’ve been phenomenal.  But we’ve got to get there first.  That’s at the top of the list.”"

Beyond the game Thursday night, the overall concern is whether Sale is regressing late in the season.  It has been a trend in previous seasons.

Next: In Rajai Davis, have Red Sox found Dave Roberts, 2.0?

As much as he is eager to figure out the Indians, the Boston Red Sox may have to consider pushing back his starts and saving him for when it really matters.