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Alex Cora doesn't think shoulder is Chris Sale's problem

Rob Bradford
September 28, 2018 - 5:36 pm

Alex Cora believes the Red Sox have identified what is causing the drop in Chris Sale's velocity.

Arm extension.

"I haven’t sat down with Dana (LeVangie), CB (Craig Bjornson), but we’ll talk about it during the day," Cora said. "They’ll explain to me what they saw and what’s going to work. ... It’s a big difference with him. Think about him extending, regardless of the velocity, it’s a different angle and with him and the kid from Tampa, (Blake) Snell, they are the most uncomfortable angle from the left side in the big leagues. So when he can create that, it’s more with the fastball actually. It comes, that fastball up, it’s a late decision and you don’t see it well. Obviously, the slider has been playing lately even though the velocity is not where it was in the summer it becomes a lot better. We’ll see where we are with that. Obviously, we expect him to fix and be ready for October." (For more on the change in Sale's extension, read Alex Speier's story on the subject by clicking here.)

But the issue is identifying exactly what has changed the alteration in Sale's delivery. The Red Sox manager is ready to rule out the pitcher's left shoulder as part of the problem.

"I don’t feel that’s the reason," said Cora of Sale's pitching shoulder. "We’ve been talking about it the whole time and we don’t feel it’s the shoulder. His mechanics were way off in the first outing, probably, they got better then all of the sudden last one it wasn’t there but we don’t feel it has anything to do with the shoulder."

While Cora still wouldn't identify Sale as his Game 1 starter in the American League Division Series, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski revealed on MLB Network Radio earlier in the week that the plan is for the lefty to get the ball for that Oct. 5 game at Fenway Park.

To hear more from Cora regarding the Red Sox' plans for Sale and the rest of his postseason strategy, click here.