Red Sox: Alex Cora’s to do list for the 2018 season

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Alex Cora /
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BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Fans cheer as Chris Sale (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Fans cheer as Chris Sale (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Alex Cora needs to monitor Chris Sale’s innings early on in the season.

There was no question that as the season carried on, Chris Sale became less effective.

If the Cy Young award was given out at the All-Star break, Sale may have been a unanimous winner.

But in August and September, and even in the postseason, Sale was clearly out of gas. His slider lost its tilt, and it suddenly became a meatball. There was no indication that he was hurt, but that it was just fatigue.

In the final two months of the regular season, Sale had an ERA just north of 4.00. The last two months were when he lost the Cy Young to Corey Kluber. One of the most concerning stats is that he gave up a total of nine home runs in the month of September, and had his lowest strikeout total of 44 in that month.

So the first thing on Cora’s list is to manage the innings of Sale very closely. Sure, the Red Sox got Sale to be the workhorse of the staff, but that does not mean he has to go eight innings in a game in May. It does not mean that much.

Sale threw in 214.1 innings last season, the second highest of his career. Unfortunately, some of those innings could have been saved because he was throwing in games that had already been decided.

In 2018, it is imperative that Cora keeps a close eye on Sale’s innings early in the season. If he keeps it low early on, that will give Sale a longer leash late in the season, which is they will need him most.