Sale beaten by the long ball: It seemed strange to note, but halfway through the season, Chris Sale, of all people, leads Red Sox pitchers with 16 gopher balls. That was a problem Wednesday night, too, as all five runs off him were the result of homers. He was tagged for a solo shot by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the third inning, a two-run belt by Danny Jansen in the fourth and, finally, another two-run blast by Brandon Drury in the fifth.
By contrast, Sale allowed just 11 homers all of last season. Most of these homers are coming off fastballs, which makes sense since fastball location -- or lack thereof -- has been Sale's biggest problem this season. On at least two occasions Wednesday, Sale didn't get the ball where he wanted to with fastballs and paid the price when the pitches were hit out of the ballpark.
His most dominant stretch earlier this year came when he kept the ball in the ballpark, allowing just four homers in the span of nine starts. In that same stretch, his ERA was 2.09. In the last three games, as he has struggled each time out, he's allowed a total of six homers -- or, two more than he did over the course of his previous nine starts combined.
Red Sox 3-4-5 quieted: The Red Sox had a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning that Sale ultimately couldn't protect. But they got next to nothing from their 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup