Blue Jays’ Hitters an Enigma for Red Sox, Sale.
As the Red Sox home opener came and went on a gloomy day in Boston, the weather seemed to directly correlate with feelings felt by Red Sox fans across the nation. Chris Sale dropped to 0-3 on the season as he gave up 5 runs in only 4.0 IP. Blue Jays DH Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was able to score one of these runs by stealing home against the ace.
This is the third disappointing start from Sale in this young season. This includes one in Oakland where his fastball averaged only 89.1 MPH, the slowest of the lefty’s career. Multiple reports that Sale had been dealing with a stomach bug previous to his low-velocity start surfaced after Oakland. The Sox ace and pitching coach Dana Levangie both refused to use this as an excuse after the reports surfaced.
Red Sox Offense Unable to Produce
The Red Sox failure to win on the day of the Ring Ceremony is not all to blame on Sale’s dismal start. Along with the unstable pitching performance, the offense went dead silent. After they scored two early runs until they were unable to score again until the sixth, eighth, and ninth. Although the team should be able to rely on a solid pitching performance almost every night, the offense should also be on top of their game. This has not been the case for most of this season, as the offense only seems to come alive when horrible pitching performances are simultaneously occurring.
The ninth inning heroics seem to be one and the same as last years. Dustin Pedroia attempted to jump-start a ninth-inning comeback as he hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth. JBJ walked in the following at-bat, leaving the door a crack open for the Sox. The next three batters failed to get on base, Sox could capitalize on a two-on no one out situation. If the Red Sox were to play the entire game the same as the ninth, more games would be won. This being said, giving up on the Red Sox so early would be a bit absurd.
Sox Starters Unnerved Without the Presence of Veteran Catchers Leon
Another unexpected piece that could be affecting the Red Sox slow start to the season is Sandy Leon being optioned to AAA Pawtucket. The club optioned the defensive mastermind late in Spring Training, leading up to their 2019 campaign. Leon’s main reason for demotion is most likely his lack of offensive prowess.
The thing that hurts the Red Sox in this situation is that Leon was known to be Chris Sale’s partner in most of his appearances. Starters previously paired with Leon, seem flustered, at the least, to start the season. The veteran obviously is more experienced in pitch selection as he has worked with this staff for many a year. The Red Sox may need to consider bringing Leon back to the majors and see if this could help solve the odd inconsistency of the starters. The Sox will look to win their first game at home on Thursday versus the Blue Jays.