Red Sox

What does Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee think about Chris Sale’s pitching struggles this season?

Sale has a 5-10 record this season with a 4.26 ERA.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee congratulates the Canadian team after they no-hit the Cubans in a 4-2 victory. Globe Staff Photo by Stan Grossfeld

Former Red Sox pitcher Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee did an interview with WEEI Thursday and discussed why he thinks Sox starter Chris Sale has struggled so much this season. 

When asked what Lee thought Sale’s biggest problem is, Lee said, “Wear and tear. He’s a thrower, not a pitcher. He does everything hard.” 

Lee went on to say that Sale lacks command away from the plate, and his inability to locate those pitches is a major reason for his struggles. 

“Here’s the main thing…he needs to learn to pitch away slowly,” said Lee. “If he can do that then you don’t have to throw 97. Once you get a hitter to commit to go the other way, he’s meat on the inside of the plate at 92.”


Sale’s statistics make it clear that he has not been himself this season. Sale has a career ERA of 3.00, with a career WHIP of 1.035. This season, Sale has posted an ERA of 4.26 and a WHIP of 1.101. Before this season, Sale’s highest season ERA came in 2015 when he posted a 3.41 ERA with the White Sox.  

Lee thinks that unless Sale can make a dramatic change in his pitching style, a move to the bullpen might be inevitable for the lefty.  

“His immediate future is in the pen if he doesn’t change, but all he has to do is throw that changeup 3 to 5 miles per hour slower and make it go away. If he can change and get Carl Hubbell’s screwball he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. He’ll win 300 games. That’s all he needs.”

Sale is slated to start Saturday against the Yankees as the Red Sox continue to fight for a playoff berth.