Following another rough performance, Sale commented on his form this season, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com):
"I'm supposed to be a big part of this team, a big part of this pitching staff, and I've probably been the biggest crutch. I know who I am and who I'm supposed to be for this team, and I haven't been anything close. I'm 3-8; that's absolutely embarrassing. On a team like this, they need me to be better, and I haven't been there for them. I'm standing before you as frustrated as I've ever been."
Sale surrendered a season-high nine hits with two walks and five earned runs, while striking out five in 5.2 innings. He also gave up three home runs in the loss.
The 30-year-old lefty noted after the start that all of his pitches are falling flat currently: "I'm not locating fastballs, my changeup is terrible, breaking ball is hit or miss. I just haven't been myself for a while and that's obviously frustrating. It's the same thing over and over."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn't mince words about Sale's performance either: "It wasn't good. Just a lot of pitches in the zone. I know he's disappointed."
MassLive.com's Christopher Smith noted that Sale's recent struggles are on him:
Christopher Smith @SmittyOnMLB
Chris Sale has a 7.02 ERA 16.2 innings, 13 earned runs )in his past 3 starts. He allowed 8 earned runs in 11 innings in his previous two starts before today — with Sandy Leon. So let's not sit here and blame Cora and Vazquez. and talk about catcher ERA. Let's talk about Sale
Sale is on pace for the worst season of his 10-year MLB career. His 4.04 ERA is a career high, his 1.07 WHIP is his worst mark since 2015 and he is trending toward posting a sub-.500 record for the first time.
Even amid his struggles, Sale is still an elite strikeout pitcher, though, with 153 strikeouts in 107 innings this season.
Sale has finished sixth or better in the American League Cy Young in each of the past seven seasons, but barring a massive turnaround after the All-Star break, that streak is set to end.
The seven-time All-Star has allowed five earned runs in each of his past two starts, so the All-Star break comes at a perfect time for him since it will allow him to press the reset button.
Boston desperately needs the Sale of old in the second half, as the reigning World Series champion is 11 games behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead and 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the AL's second wild card spot.