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Red Sox can blame early exit on stars’ lackluster performance

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The Red Sox exited the playoffs much sooner than anticipated, suffering a sweep at the hands of the Indians in the ALDS. They lost 5-4 in Game 1 and were shut out 6-0 in Game 2 before suffering a 4-3 loss on Monday evening in Game 3.

There is no one individual player to blame for the early exit. Rather, most of their star players performed much worse than anticipated, particularly compared to their 2016 regular season performances.

Let’s begin with the starting pitching:

And a select look at the offense:

Credit is due to the Indians for figuring out how to dismantle the starting pitching and for keeping the Red Sox offense at bay. But the Sox were certainly expecting much more out of the club — certainly enough to keep them from being swept out of the ALDS.

If there is a silver lining, at least the bullpen pitched well. Matt Barnes gave up an unearned run in Game 2 and Drew Pomeranz gave up two runs on a Coco Crisp homer in Game 3. Over 16 1/3 innings of relief, two earned runs (1.10 ERA) will do.

Red Sox place Chris Sale on 10-day injured list

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.

Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.