How could a pitcher who sets the MLB record for most strikeouts in a seven-inning performance blame himself for his team’s loss?
Chris Sale did it on Tuesday, when he struck out 17 but gave up a two-run homer to Nolan Arenado in the seventh inning, only to watch Brandon Workman give up another two-run shot in the eighth as the Rockies outlasted the Red Sox, 5-4, in 11 innings.
Sale said afterward it was his fault, noting that the homer to Arenado gave the Rockies life.
One day later, Red Sox manager Alex Cora wouldn’t allow that to stand.
“He’s accountable and he’s transparent and that’s the type of player you want,” Cora said. “But nah, we had a lead going into the eighth and (Workman) made a pitch 2-0 and they hit a home run. But if that’s on (Sale), I don’t know. Blame the manager, I guess. Blame me.”
Cora doesn’t believe Sale’s fastball velocity, which sat at 93 mph and topped out at 96 mph on Tuesday, has been the key factor in his resurgence.
“Command,” Cora said Wednesday. “We can talk about velocity, but I think it’s command of the fastball. Slider is a lot better. I think his delivery is a lot better. You put that all together and that’s the result. He’s been studying the way he attacks hitters. People will make adjustments.”
Cora unhappy with relievers
While Sale was overly accountable on Tuesday night, Workman and Ryan Brasier were not. Both were absent from the Red Sox clubhouse when the media entered shortly after the game ended and left Sale to answer all the questions about the team’s loss.
When Cora found out about it, he wasn’t happy.
“I’ll make sure I talk to those guys,” Cora said. “We always say that players have to be responsible, transparent, and accountable. I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
MVP to LVP?
Steve Pearce had another tough night at the plate Tuesday as his average dropped to .111. His OPS is now at .319, the lowest OPS of any MLB player with at least 60 plate appearances this year.
“Just keep working out,” Cora said. “He was out there today, working on his timing, putting his hands in a good place so he can get his swing off. It seems like he’s hesitant. He wants to swing at certain pitches but he hasn’t been able to pull the trigger. So, just keep working.”
The Sox aren’t slated to face many lefties in the upcoming week, but Cora said he’ll keep going to Pearce off the bench in hopes that the World Series MVP turns it around.
“We know that just like the other guys, they’re one swing away,” Cora said.
On the mend
Dustin Pedroia (knee) worked out on the field again Wednesday and could start a new rehab assignment as soon as this weekend.
“I everything goes fine, then we’ll make a decision,” Cora said.
Lefty Brian Johnson (elbow) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and was expected to throw two innings as he ramps back up toward a long-relief/swingman role. Next, he’ll throw three or four innings next Monday.
Brock Holt (eye) restarted his rehab assignment with the PawSox and was DHing on Wednesday night.