Maddon calls Lackey a “bad teammate” following bench-clearing scuffle
In a Monday night marathon between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays that took 5 hours and 24 minutes to play 14 innings and total 32 hits and 18 runs combined, the length of the game somehow was not the big story. Rather, it was a controversy that arose in the sixth inning that people are talking about Tuesday.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce hit a home run in the first inning, and appeared to hit a second one in the second inning, flipping his bat before the ball hooked foul. Red Sox starter John Lackey, possibly frustrated by the move, yelled at Tampa Bay players as he walked off the mound after the inning ended.
In the sixth inning, Lackey hit Joyce in the back with a fastball. Joyce had words for Lackey as he took first base, causing Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to step between them, but shortly thereafter, both benches cleared and shoving ensued. No one was ejected following the squabble, and Lackey said the pitch was not intended to hit Joyce, but Rays manager Joe Maddon shared his own opinion of Lackey’s intentions.
“He intentionally hit him when he did,” Maddon said. “There’s no question in my mind that he did, and the sad part is that I’ve always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he can get one of his own players hurt.
“I really did sense among the group of Red Sox that they were totally not into that moment [the bench-clearing] because they knew it was inappropriate to hit Matt on purpose, and furthermore because one of them can get hurt. So that’s being a bad teammate as far as I’m concerned. In the past, he was always a good teammate. That was a really bad moment for him tonight.”
Ouch. Standing up for your own team is one thing, but calling someone a “bad teammate?” That’s bound to stir the Red Sox up. And with two games left in the series, things could stay a bit heated between these two teams. Stay tuned for more fireworks.