SOME THINGS to think about as the calendar flips to June:
Chris Sale has struck out 84 batters in 50 1/3 innings over his last eight starts. He has ONE WIN in those starts and sits at 1-7 with a 4.35 ERA. But there are some scarier numbers behind the numbers Sox fans might want to consider.
Coming into this season, Sale was 41-11 in his career in March through May, and 26-29 in September and October. He had been 69-26 in the first half of the season, 34-36 in the second half.
That means this is supposed to be his time of year. While it’s true he and the other starters were babied in spring training, no one else is 1-7.
Sale’s loss in the Bronx, where he usually dominates, helped the Red Sox sink nine games behind the Yankees in the loss column. It’s only June 2, so anything can happen, but this team has looked very ordinary as it seeks to become the first repeat World Series winner since 2000.
Column pal and former colleague Seth Livingstone offered an interesting take after the passing of Bill Buckner. In an e-mail, he wrote, “Here’s the thing no one talks about with Buckner: when Buckner got to Boston and took over at first base in 1984, Wade Boggs suddenly turned into a major-league third baseman. Boggs had committed 27 errors in ‘83 and was shaky as hell with Mike Easler playing first in early ‘84. As soon as Buckner arrived, he picked a couple of potentially errant throws and, in seemingly no time, Boggs developed the kind of confidence that would help him earn two Gold Gloves.”
Boggs, tweeting on Buckner’s death, wrote “OMG such a sad day can’t put it in perspective with the only reason why we made it to the World Series in 86 RIP my friend God Bless You.”
Paul Burmeister of NBC Sports posted: “Bill Buckner played 22!!! seasons in MLB and hit .290 and ESPN ID’s him, the day he dies, as man who committed fateful error in ‘86 World Series. Have some damn respect, and awareness of the moment and his accomplishments. Big miss.”
Boston Sports Extra’s Scott F posted, “5-27-1985, the Red Sox beat the Twins 9-2. Batting 3rd & 4th in the order, both Boggs and Bill Buckner had 4-hit games, with Boggs not making any out. Leadoff hitter Steve Lyons had 3 hits, 2 home runs & 4 RBI! These were his first 2 MLB home runs; he’d hit 17 more.”
More Boggs: He sent birthday wishes this week to Joe Namath, telling Broadway Joe he wore No. 12 as a Yankee in his honor. Namath tweeted back: “Well from one New York 12 to another, I think you’re remarkable for playing for the Red Sox AND Yankees! Thanks for the good vibes!”
Now we take our weekly spin around the rest of the sports world:
… Albert Almora Jr. of the Cubs had to be removed from the game –- in tears –- after his foul ball struck and injured a 4-year-old girl in the stands in Houston. It is time – now – for MLB to extend those protective nets all the way down each foul line. “I hope this never happens again, so whatever the league has to do to make that happen,” Almora said. “I don’t think any kid that goes to a baseball game with their parents or a loved one should worry about making it out unhealthy. I don’t think that should ever cross their mind.”
…The Celtics rumors are flying. Kyrie Irving is out, Kyrie Irving is in. Al Horford will opt out or opt in and be traded. The team will build around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown or it won’t. Stay tuned.
…The ball juiced? When former Fisher Cat Vlad Guerrero Jr. homered in Denver on Friday night, it was the 1,120th home run hit this month, a record for any month in the history of the sport.
…With the draft Monday, thus eliminating compensation for signing free agents, expect it to be hours before Dallas Keuchel (Yankees?) and Craig Kimbrel (Braves?) to have jobs. Keuchel to the Yankees would mean shaving off that beard.
…Yes, the Warriors need Kevin Durant.
…World Series MVP Steve Pearce is not exactly tearing it up, but felt good when some remaining Sox fans chanted “MVP” when he came up after midnight the other night. “It’s pretty cool,” Pearce told MassLive.com. “It’s cool that they’ve still got my back. I’m not having the best year this year. When I haven’t played well and I’m walking back to the dugout, they’re kind of having my back. And it feels good.” Pearce went on the IL Saturday, and Sam Travis came up from Pawtucket.
…Oskar Sundqvist probably deserved his suspension for his hit on Matt Grzelyck, but remember this: Sundqvist is a fourth liner while Grzelyck is a key cog in the Bruins defense.
…Micah Shrewsbury, who has left his job as Celtics assistant to work as an assistant at Purdue, thinks Gordon Hayward will be the real Gordon Hayward next season. “I don’t want to put any expectations on him, but I think next year will be a year for him to really show who he is and who people were excited about,” Shrewsbury, who also coached Hayward at Butler, told the Globe. “People don’t realize how good of a player Gordon is. It gets lost in the shuffle because of what’s happened the last two years. But he’s a really good player. I think he’s just itching to prove that and itching to prove people wrong and itching to put his stamp on the organization.”
…My alma mater struck gold this week when Wichita State hired Eric Wedge as its new baseball coach.
…The Big East celebrated 40 years of existence with a dinner in Providence this week. Naturally, much of the talk was about league founder, the late Dave Gavitt. “He was a unifier,’’ said former coach and current analyst extraordinaire Bill Raftery. “He had strong relationships with every influential coach in the East and he was always willing to offer advice. He watched me coach for two years at Seton Hall before suggesting I try broadcasting! Once Patrick Ewing signed with Georgetown in 1981, I knew I had made the right move.’’
…According to Pierre “Between The Benches” McGuire, the Blues’ Patrick Maroon questioned the Bruins’ leadership during Game 2. According to McGuire, Maroon, directing a comment at a Bruin, said, “That’s really limited leadership. You guys should start looking at one another.” McGuire didn’t say who the Boston player was but added, “it was well done by him, rather than screaming and yelling and swearing, he was calm, cool and collected.”
…The Orioles’ Andrew Cashner and San Francisco’s Drew Pomeranz combined to throw 90 pitches in the first inning in Baltimore Friday night – and the O’s led 6-5 after one. Pomeranz was gone in the second inning and is 1-6 with an 8.08 ERA.
…Mike Yastrzemski, Carl’s grandson, had his first MLB homer and triple in that loss.
…Both David Price and Matt Barnes applauded the way Alex Cora is navigating these difficult waters, remaining the same win or lose. Said Price: “Us as players definitely respect that. Managing is not easy, especially in Boston. He hasn’t changed one bit from last year to this year. The difference is where we started and how our season has gone so far. For him to stay the same AC, that’s awesome.” Said Barnes: “It’d be easy to change and try and press and do things drastically different though we had success doing them last year, but he hasn’t. He’s got his principles and what he expects of us.”
…The Tigers’ Niko Goodrum, hitting .208 on the season through Thursday, went home to Atlanta Friday night and, with friends and family watching, went 5-for-5 with two homers in Detroit’s win. “I haven’t played in front of the majority of them since high school,” Goodrum said. “To come out there and perform like that, I’m sure they had a good time. It’s pretty cool.” According to STATS, Goodrum became the first player to collect five hits in his first game in his home state since Ohio’s Pete Susko did it in 1934. Goodrum is from Fayetteville, Ga., less than 40 miles from Atlanta. By the way, Susko had only 59 other hits in the majors; Goodrum had 152 through Friday.
…Tweet from @bzref: “If I’m the Warriors, I go full Madison Square Garden Mike Milbury on that clown at courtside.” “That clown,” of course, is Drake — and we’ve ALL seen enough of him.
…J.D. Martinez after Eduardo Nunez was picked off second Friday night, the latest goofy miscue by his team: “To me, it’s just frustrating. I feel like we’re obviously, I don’t want to say scuffling to get into a groove. It’s just frustrating, because we get something going, and someone slips up, or one (expletive)-up, or something like that and it just kind of spirals. It (bleeps)s because you’re right, it’s happened several times this year, but there’s going to be a time when it cleans up, just from the law of averages.”
…Erik Karlsson, one of the top two free agents set to hit the NHL market, really wants to play on the same team as Victor Hedman, but the Lightning may have to do some serious shuffling to make it happen.
…Bill Russell will receive the Arthur Ashe Profiles In Courage Award at the ESPYs. He tweeted: “Just found out I will be receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Arthur was a man of great courage. Tune in July 10, this is a special honor!”
…Pirates GM and New Hampshire native Neal Huntington, whose catcher Francisco Cervelli continues to add to his concussion history, wants baseball to adopt a rule that allows players to leave the game to be checked and then return if they’re cleared. “It used to be, you’d get your bell rung and you’d stay in,” Huntington, who grew up in Amherst and went to Milford High School, told The Athletic. “We shouldn’t do that anymore. We should understand what that actually means. Our players’ safety should be first and foremost.”
…Rockets GM Daryl Morey is ready for some change and is apparently willing to deal anyone, including James Harden, says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
…The great broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick to the Globe’s Chad Finn: “I do think hockey is the easiest sport for play-by-play because it’s continuous action. It’s kind of like dancing to ‘YMCA’ when it’s played. Everybody can do this making a Y with his arms, but it’s what you do when you’re not making the letters that tells me whether you’re a good dancer or not. How do you fill in those gaps? Well, in hockey, you don’t have to fill in a lot of those gaps, because it’s always moving.”
…Thanks to column pal Bill Murphy for pointing out a Raptors title would be Canada’s first since the Canadiens in 1993. No, the CFL doesn’t count.
…The Padres became the last team to visit the new Yankee Stadium this week, and the Yankees are 24-5 against teams playing their first games in the House That George Built.
…Doc Rivers was fined $50,000 by the NBA for comparing potential free agent Kawhi Leonard to Michael Jordan. Seems a bit excessive?
…Brett Favre on the passing of fellow Packer great Bart Starr: “Bart Starr was the most kind, thoughtful and classiest person you could ever know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have called him friend and to have been mentioned in the same breath. Deanna and I are praying for Cherry and the Starr family. #RIPBartStarr”
…The contending Rays set their all-time attendance low this week, with 5,786 paid at the Trop. Said president Brian Auld: “We appreciate the support of our fans, and we believe that St. Petersburg, Tampa and the entire Tampa Bay region will rally around this exciting and compelling Rays team.”
…Kyrie Irving sent a custom pair of his new shoe, “Kyrie 5,” to WNBA star Sue Bird. Bird is expected to miss most of the league season after knee surgery.
…Brad Marchand on what you put into the Stanley Cup when you have it: “Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a baby...and a lot of alcohol.”
…The Dodgers quieted Bryce Harper Friday night, as he went 0-for-4 after going 20-for-60 with nine doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs in the previous 15 games. His new team is a lot better off than his old one as we head into June.
…Finally, HBO’s John Oliver, who said working for Jon Stewart after arriving on this side of the pond kind of forced him to root for Stewart’s Mets, and he still does. “I knew being a Yankees fan was just the wrong thing to do, morally,” Oliver said at Citi Field this week.
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.