When you look at his final line, Chris Sale's Tuesday outing vs. the Tigers looks encouraging. But the Red Sox ace admits he still isn't where he wants to be.
Sale struck out a season-high 10 Detroit hitters while allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks. While those are positive takeaways, the Tigers made Sale work as his pitch count reached 97 in only five innings.
Following Boston's 7-4 loss, Sale explained why he remains unsatisfied.
"I'd definitely say that this is a step in the right direction," Sale told reporters. "Not exactly where we want to be, but better. Just putting it all together. You know, kind of having everything working at one time with command, with the stuff. They were swinging the bats a lot today and that obviously helped me in some ways, but just too many foul balls, too many deep counts, walked a couple guys. I need to clean some things up around the edges, but we'll get there."
While Sale remains critical of himself, his manager Alex Cora was encouraged by what he saw on Tuesday.
"I felt that he was better than the last [start] as far as command," Cora said. "The changeup was OK. But besides that, we got swings and misses today, so that was a good step."
Detroit scored five runs off the Red Sox bullpen, making Boston now 0-5 in Sale's starts this season. Sale hasn't won a regular season game since August 12.
Now 9-14 on the year, the Red Sox will look to bounce back in Game 2 of their doubleheader vs. Detroit with Hector Velazquez on the mound.