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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Chris Sale concerned he could be tipping pitches

Chris Sale

August has not been a great month for AL Cy Young Award contender Chris Sale, particularly when he has had to face the Indians. In two starts against Cleveland, Sale has given up 13 earned runs in eight innings. The left-hander’s ERA against every other team this season is 2.32.

Are the Indians seeing something other teams aren’t?

After he was tagged for six earned runs in just three innings in a loss to Cleveland Thursday night, Sale was asked by Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com if he thinks he could be tipping pitches.

“You’d think that, with the way they’ve hit me,” he admitted. “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.”

Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis downplayed the possibility, noting that players move from team to team all the time and word would eventually spread outside of just Cleveland if Sale was tipping pitches. However, Willis said the staff has not ruled anything out.

“During the game, we had our video guys looking at things,” he said. “I think Chili (Davis, hitting coach) pointed out a few things just look different. We haven’t found anything yet. It is possible. There could be something; we can’t rule that out. We’ve got to look into it. We won’t leave any stone unturned.”

As McAdam notes, Sale has made 18 career starts and 29 total appearances against the Indians, so the issue could be more about familiarity. But if you really want to run with the pitch-tipping angle, think back to earlier in the year when the Detroit Tigers were concerned Justin Verlander was tipping his pitches. Remember who the opponent was? Cleveland. And guess what the final score was when Verlander got shelled: 13-6 — the same score Cleveland beat the Red Sox by on Thursday.

Verlander downplayed the possibility with a funny joke on social media, but it’s certainly worth looking into. The Red Sox could face the Indians in the postseason, and Sale is going to have to adjust one way or another if they do.



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