Lackey Reinjures Arm in Toronto, Sox Lose After Going Scoreless in Nine Innings
The Red Sox are now 2nd in the AL Eastern Division having dropped to 3-2 on the 2013 season. The Sox lost Saturday’s game in Toronto to the Blue Jays. After nine innings, Toronto had scored five runs to Boston’s zero. In the last four games, Boston had outscored their opponents 23-14, including 6-4 against Toronto on Friday. Here’s the recap.
John Lackey was going for double-digit strikeouts in the game. After three innings, he had struck our six. By the fifth, he had eight strikeouts. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Lackey looked the best he’s ever been. His only mistake was giving up a 2-run homer to J.P. Arencibia in the fourth.
Jacoby Ellsbury stole two bases in the first three innings. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Ellsbury stole multiple bases just one time in the 74 games he played in the 2012 season. Ellsbury also had one of only two hits in the game for the Red Sox, who as a team was mired by Toronto pitching throughout. In the first inning, Ellsbury was up first and hit a double. He then stole third base during the inning, but the Red Sox couldn’t score.
John Lackey had his bright moments, but then his arm gave way. After 4 and 1/3 innings, Lackey allowed two runs, but struck out eight. He had just struck out Emilio Bonifacio. Facing Jose Reyes, Lackey hurt his right arm on a pitch that almost hit Reyes. The Red Sox later commented on the injury, saying that it was right biceps strain. Lackey will be flying back to Boston Sunday morning for an MRI. It would be a shame to lose Lackey, who spent the last 18 months in rehab. Sox manager John Farrell told the media that the initial testing on Lackey’s arm produced “positive signs.” We will learn more come Sunday.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves substituted for Lackey but didn’t fare well against the Blue Jays. Aceves gave up a three-run homer to Colby Rasmus in the sixth inning. However, Aceves did not give up another run for the rest of the game. Aceves was not substituted, so the other pitches could remain fresh. The Red Sox and Blue Jays will play again on Sunday, and if it’s going to be a pitcher’s duel, the Red Sox will need their bullpen ready and rested. Not sure if Aceves will be called again tomorrow after throwing several more innings in this game than the Sox would have liked.
Mike Napoli struck out looking in the bottom of the first. Ellsbury had doubled, then stole third, and would have scored on a hit. Napoli had a big game against Toronto on Friday when he homered, scored a run, and punched in three RBIs. He struck out twice in that game. In Saturday’s rematch, Napoli struck out three times, had zero hits, and zero RBIs.
Starting Pitching Rewind:
Lackey entered the game with an enormous 9.74 ERA in 20.1 innings that he’s thrown against Toronto’s lineup in 2011. He left the game with two runs scored on a homer in the fourth. Lackey was the topic of training camp after having undergone Tommy John surgery last season. The Red Sox reported that Lackey had been rehabbing for the past 18 months. His status now is a question mark as the Red Sox will have him fly back to Boston for MRI examinations. Sox manager John Farrell made positive statements toward how Lackey has tested after the injury.
Lackey has pitched well at the start of the game, then gave up two scores in the fourth, and left in the fifth. He struck out eight. The Red Sox will miss him in their rotation. It is likely that Alfredo Aceves may be called up to fill in the void that Lackey left behind until the Red Sox are sure that Lackey is healthy enough to face major league hitters.
There weren’t a lot of nice moments for the Red Sox in this game. Their only concern right now is the status of their fifth starting pitcher Lackey. Should Lackey not be able to pitch at the level we’ve seen him pitched on Saturday, then the Red Sox will have a gaping hole in their rotation.
Lackey is making $15,950,000 this season. That’s a lot of millions on the shelf if he’s out for long periods. Hopefully he will get healthy soon and work on strengthening his throwing arm. The Red Sox will need him if they want to make the playoffs again after another 157 games. Baseball season is a grueling grind, and there’s no doubt a healthy Lackey makes them a better team.
Talk about playing in an unfriendly environment. As Lackey was heading off the field with trainer Rick Jameyson, a crowd of 45,797 reportedly booed. Maybe they were reacting to how dominant his fastballs were at the start of the game. They clocked 94 miles per hour, according to reports.