Red Sox

Red Sox

Chris Sale hasn't quite looked himself to start the season. After getting rocked for seven runs in just three innings on Opening Day, Sale bounced back with a solid outing against the Oakland Athletics. However, his velocity still wasn't where it needed to be, and his fastball was hovering in the high-80s to low-90s, a big step down from what it was last year.

Sean McAdam of The Boston Sports Journal recently spoke to a major league scout who offered his take on Sale's performance. And he referenced that Sale's shoulder could be giving him trouble.

I know they’re kind of slow-playing (Chris) Sale and he’s holding back a little with the velo, but watching him, there’s a lot of shoulder involved (in his delivery). In the past, he was more free and whip-like and he wasn’t getting that same extension at the end. That tells me that he’s got some discomfort in the shoulder area.

While Alex Cora has insisted that Sale isn't dealing with an injury, it's possible that Sale could be dealing with minor discomfort. He did land on the injured list twice last year with shoulder issues in the second half of the season, so it's certainly something that needs to be monitored.

It's also possible that Sale is just taking a bit longer to adjust to the regular season after not playing much in spring training. He pitched just 9 innings this spring after pitching 14 2/3 innings last year. That was by design, as Cora has spoken about wanting to keep his players fresh for a late-season run. So, maybe with another start or two, his velocity will see an uptick again. But if it doesn't soon, it will become a bit of a concern for the Red Sox.

 

Sale will next get a chance to pitch during Tuesday's home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. His performance in that outing will be critical, and he will do his best to give the home fans something to cheer about.

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