Cora on OMF: Chris Sale's velocity dip not a concern, but starting staff's performance is

John Tomase
April 03, 2019 - 3:05 pm
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Red Sox manager Alex Cora isn't sweating Chris Sale's diminished velocity, not when the results were so otherwise encouraging.

Making his weekly appearance on OMF on Wednesday, Cora discussed Sale's performance in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to the A's. Despite sitting at 88-90 mph with his fastball, Sale limited Oakland to three hits and one run in six innings, his lone blemish a first-inning home run from Matt Chapman.

"I know everyone is talking about velocity," Cora acknowledged.

With his fastball down, Sale relied on his slider and changeup to keep the A's off balance, and he was effective despite striking out only one batter. Cora noted that Sale pitched more to contact for a bit late in his White Sox career, and also noted that last year's velocity jump didn't occur right away.

"Last year it was in Texas," Cora said. "Velocity was usually 92, 93, all of a sudden we went to the heat and humidity and it was 98, 99, and he went through a period when he was amazing for two, two and a half months."

In light of last year's postseason run and increased workloads, the Red Sox want their starters to ease into things this season, Sale especially.

"Everything I heard from previous years, Chris was throwing 97, 98 from the first day of spring training, and that's why he got hit by the Houston Astros (in the playoffs)," Cora said.

As for the rest of the staff, Cora acknowledged the obvious -- it has to be better.

Red Sox starters have allowed a staggering 12 home runs in only 27 innings, and are mostly to blame for a team ERA of 6.24, which ranks next to last in the American League.

"We live in an era when you make mistakes, it's not a double in the gap," Cora said. "It's home run."

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