The Boston Red Sox once again were unable to win a Chris Sale start as they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 6-3 on Wednesday night. With the loss, Sale dropped to 3-8 on the year and continued to be "as frustrated as he's ever been" playing baseball.
Last night, Sale surrendered five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched to bump his ERA up to a 4.04 mark for the year. However, his ERA has been notably worse when Christian Vazquez has caught him, per Chris Mason of The Eagle-Tribune.
Sale's ERA is up to 6.68 throwing to Vazquez this season.— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) July 4, 2019
That number is alarming, and it's also markedly worse than Sale's performance throwing to backup catcher Sandy Leon, as pointed out by Bill Koch of The Providence Journal.
Suffice to say, that is a massive difference in performance. And that's probably part of the reason that Leon had caught Sale in his previous seven starts before last night's contest.
Vazquez has also overseen two starts this year in which Sale has allowed three home runs. In his previous two seasons with the Red Sox, Sale had only allowed three homers on one occasion. That came in September of 2017 against the New York Yankees. At the time, Leon was behind the plate.
Of course, it is fair to point out that Vazquez isn't responsible for all of Sale's struggles, as the lefty has had shakier-than-usual command over the course of his last three starts, walking five and allowing five homers. And two of those starts came with Leon behind the plate.
Additionally, Vazquez has been a key part of the offense and in last night's game, he helped give Sale some run support by blasting a homer. Leon is still batting below the Mendoza line, and he figures to continue on mostly as a strong defensive option who can occasionally crack a hit.
Still, the fact of the matter is that Sale has been better when throwing to Leon by a wide margin this year. Unless Sale and Vazquez can figure out a way to better co-exist when on the field, the Red Sox may be better off using Leon as Sale's personal catcher while trying to find Vazquez some at-bats as a designated hitter or pinch hitter during Sale's starts.
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