With Opening Day well underway the 2019 season didn’t get off to the start that Boston Red Sox star Chris Sale was hoping for.
The Red Sox marched into Seattle prepared to start the campaign to defend their World Series Championship. With newly re-signed starter Chris Sale set to take the mound on Opening Day things seemed to be right on target. Then the game began.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Sale and the Red Sox as they got off to a quick start scoring a run in the top of the first. Sale would then take the mound and do what he does best. He got to work quickly in the bottom of the first by striking out the side, but it wasn’t perfect. He struggled a tad in his first inning of 2019 and needed 24 pitches to get out of the first.
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After the Red Sox added another run in the second The Condor had some breathing room, then the Mariners woke up. Tim Beckham would launch a hanging pitch that Sale left in the sweet spot. Sale would load the bases after giving up a single, walk, and HBP and Seattle would make him pay. Domingo Santana would knock in two more runs and it could’ve been worse if not for Mitch Haniger getting thrown out at home on a close call.
The third inning wouldn’t be any kinder to Sale as he would give up two more homers, another to Beckham, and 4 RBI’s total in the inning. For anyone watching it was pretty clear from the getgo that Chris Sale just didn’t have his mojo tonight. After a few strong spring training showings and of course that magic ninth inning in Game 5 of the World Series, hopes were high tonight. Sadly those dreams turned into a nightmare in the blink of an eye.
Sale just didn’t have the control that we’re used to seeing from the masterful lefty. The slider didn’t have that bite that made Manny Machado corkscrew himself into the ground in October. The fastball wasn’t hitting the speed that we’re used to seeing and would often miss its mark. Sale did have control over his changeup but with nothing else clicking it was rendered useless tonight.
After just three innings the night was over for Chris Sale. His stat line is nothing to write home about at 3IP, 6H, 7ER, 2BB, 4K. Tonight’s performance would instantly become one Sale would like to forget as he gave up more runs tonight than he did in any of his starts last season. It seemed to be the plan of Alex Cora to not have Chris go too late in the game but hitting 76 pitches in just 3IP wasn’t in the gameplan.
Red Sox Nation was ready to gas up the duck boats and keep the parade going from October and tonight just wasn’t in the stars. With 161 more games left in the season when all is said and done this will just be a drop in the bucket. But it is shocking to see Chris Sale have such a poor performance as even when he wasn’t 100% last year, he didn’t look this bad. Hopefully, this is just an off night for the southpaw and we’ll see him back to form for his next start.
With the announcement that Sale and the Red Sox agreed to a brand new 5-year/$145M contract expectations were high going into tonight. Both the team and Chris will have to go back to the drawing board to see where exactly things went wrong. There will be many more chances for Chris Sale to dazzle the Fenway Faithful but tonight was also a rude awakening to the harsh reality of baseball.