Red Sox: Chris Sale’s struggles against Cleveland Indians are concerning

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19: Chris Sale /
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Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the league – except when it comes to facing the Cleveland Indians. Here’s why that’s a problem.

BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 19: Chris Sale (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 19: Chris Sale (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

No pitcher in the league has been more dominant than Chris Sale this season. The ace of the Boston Red Sox rotation has baffled opposing hitters and overwhelmed the best lineups in baseball. Except when it comes to facing one team – the Cleveland Indians.

The Tribe roughed up Sale for the second time this month, knocking him out of the game after only three innings of work. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out a season-low three batters.

The damage was done in the second and third innings. Opposing hitters are batting only .148 with a .209 OBP leading off an inning against Sale, so it was quite a surprise to see Cleveland hitters get on base to start each of those innings. The first four batters reached in a four-run second inning on a trio of singles with a walk mixed in. A three-run third followed after Sale walked two of the first three batters in the frame. By that point, Sale’s outing was doomed.

This marked the first time this season that Sale has failed to last at least five innings. The six earned runs were one shy of the season-high he set the last time he faced Cleveland on August 1.

Sale has now allowed 13 earned runs over eight innings against the Indians this season for a staggering 14.63 ERA. In the 170 1/3 innings he’s tossed against every other team this season he owns a 2.32 ERA.