BOSTON — This isn't the history the Red Sox had in mind when they inked Chris Sale to a five year, $145 million extension.
With last night's 11-2 loss to the Dodgers, Sale became the first pitcher ever to go 13 straight starts without picking up a regular season win at Fenway Park. His last home victory came on July 11, 2018.
Here are five takes from a Red Sox regression:
1. Sale looks lost
If Sale can't figure his issues out, this team isn't going anywhere.
The lefty was tagged for runs in the first and third inning, and when he got into more trouble and fell behind 5-1 in the fifth, Alex Cora was so uninspired that he lifted his No. 1 starter at 92 pitches. He just can't command his fastball right now.
It was the 10th time this season that Sale was tagged for at least four runs and the Red Sox fell to 6-13 when their ace takes the mound.
2. He can say goodbye to Sandy
Alex Cora seemed irked that he needed to find a new spot for the white-hot Christian Vazquez because Sale usually throws better to Sandy Leon. But the manager stuck Vazquez at first base — that didn't go particularly well — to see if he could get Sale going.
"I hate the whole personal catcher thing," Cora said beforehand. "But I felt like today, we’re going with Sandy and Chris, see where it takes us."
It took them to the same place; last night was the fourth straight start Sale had been tagged for at least four runs, and Leon was behind the plate for three of them.
3. Wright gets rocked
Steven Wright's knuckleball wasn't knuckling last night.
Tabbed as a new bullpen improvement hours earlier by Dave Dombrowski, Wright was shelled by the Dodgers. He gave up bombs to Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock, and later left the game when he was struck on the foot with a comebacker.
Fortunately, x-rays were negative, but it was quite an uninspiring outing.
4. Bogey brings the bat
Xander Bogaerts was the only Red Sox hitter that did any damage on Saturday night.
The shortstop hit a solo homer into the Monster Seats in the fourth inning, his 19th of the season, and laced an opposite-field single to plate Boston's other run. More than half of Boston's starters went hitless in the loss.
5. Dave makes a deal
The No. 5 spot in the Red Sox rotation is finally getting a jolt of adrenaline.
Dombrowski sent two low-level prospects to the Orioles for Andrew Cashner, a veteran starter in the midst of his best season since 2014.
"Definitely gives us the improvement in that fifth spot, which we’ve scuffled for such a long time this year," Dombrowski said. "He’s a guy that’s taken the ball and given six, seven innings on a consistent basis so we like a lot of the things about him. We think he makes us better.”
A right-hander, Cashner boasts a 9-3 record despite being lampooned on a terrible Orioles team, and his 3.83 ERA will actually rank second among Red Sox starters.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason