Mazz: Looking for me to buy in on 2019 Sox? No Sale.

Meanwhile, here’s the bigger picture: the Red Sox this season are now 9-10 when someone other than Sale is their starting pitcher and 0-5 in games started by their ace. Neither number is especially praiseworthy given what the Sox should be, but that 0-5 right now is the No. 1 reason they continue to stumble along as if blindfolded.

Mazz: Time for Red Sox Pitchers to Get Back to Basics

Call me a traditionalist – and to a degree, I am – but here’s a simple question: if you’re walking a ton of guys and putting yourself in bad situations, why would you keep pitching backwards? Maybe it’s because the Sox de-emphasized the start of the season, brought their pitchers along slowly, don’t have arm strength just yet. Or maybe the slow spring actually prevented Sox pitchers from getting the necessary feel for their off-speed pitches, which means Sox starters are throwing softer and with less break, movement, command.

Mazz: For Alex Cora and Red Sox, Invoice for October Workload May Be Coming Due Now

When you add it all up – past, present and future – the Red Sox have over a half-billion dollars invested in their starting rotation, $531.8 million to be exact. Those five pitchers are and always have been the foundation in Dave Dombrowski’s formula for success. And when they perform like they’re performing now, there’s really no need for analysis of any kind. You just have no chance.

Mazz: The Chris Sale conundrum ... can he dial it down and still be dominant?

Does everyone get the point now? When Sale is airing it out, he’s at his very best – and not just because of the velocity. His slider is much sharper, too. The Sale we saw yesterday in Seattle looked like a guy who was holding back and trying to pace himself – again, we’re assuming health here – and the result wasn’t remotely close to good enough.