BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale has a 2.32 ERA this season against every opponent other than the Indians. Against Cleveland, his ERA is 14.63. How do you explain that team’s massive success against Sale as compared to others?
It could be that when Sale goes into his windup, he’s tipping his pitches to them.
That’s what the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam asked Sale after his outing on Thursday night, in which he allowed six earned runs in just three innings. Sale acknowledged that it could be part of the issue.
“You’d think that, with the way they’ve hit me,” said Sale. “I haven’t found anything, but it’s something we’re going to look at on video. It might be something simple, like [pitch] sequencing. But it’s something we’ll definitely take a look at.”
Among those already looking at the video are pitching coach Carl Willis and hitting coach Chili Davis. They have yet to figure out any patterns.
“We haven’t found anything yet. It is possible,” said Willis. “There could be something; we can’t rule that out. We’ve got to look into it. We won’t leave any stone unturned.”
Sale also said that the issue on Thursday night may have been that his command simply wasn’t there.
“You look at the pitches that they hit, everything was up over the plate,” said Sale. “I just … sucked, quite honestly. The pitches weren’t down, they were right there, center-cut.”
It’s possible that the Indians, who have now faced Sale for 18 starts going back to the lefty’s time with the White Sox, are simply familiar with him. But that wouldn’t explain Sale’s 3.31 combined ERA and 46 strikeouts in 35.1 innings this season against the Royals, Twins, and Tigers.
Sale could very well be facing the Indians again in Game 1 of the American League Division Series come October. Despite his struggles against them, he’s not one to back down from a challenge.
“I would love it, would absolutely love it,” said Sale. “This is obviously a pretty good rivalry, even though we’re not in [the same] division or anything like that. But given what happened last [October] and the series that we’ve had against each other this year, they’ve been phenomenal.”
Sale will look to rebound next Tuesday on the road against the Blue Jays.