TOO MANY INJURIES TO STAY COMPETITIVE ...
John Lackey smothers his old team
May 5, 2010 ...
The Red Sox continued to settle the nerves of fans across New
England. With three straight wins at Fenway Park against the Angels,
the Sox have returned to playing their brand of baseball and have
steadied their faithful, with excellent outings from starters, with
home runs, and with stellar defense.
Add that to
Terry Francona's decision to stay with David Ortiz, and the Sox eked out just
enough offense to get past the two hits and one run of their opponents last
night, as former Angel John Lackey smothered his old club over seven innings in
a 3-1 win in front of 37,601.
into the game, Francona's patience had paid off, as Ortiz provided the decisive
run with a solo homer. That's not to say all of Ortiz's problems are gone. They
just weren't in evidence last night. Ortiz began with a single up the middle in
the second inning, then took Joel Pineiro deep in the fourth. Ortiz had entered
the game with a robust .391 average against Pineiro (9 for 23) with two homers
and 11 RBIs. And Ortiz's contribution were needed, as the Sox went just 2 for 8
with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. They got their first
run on a J.D. Drew walk, Ortiz single, and Beltre RBI single in the second.
some bad luck, too. The Sox lined into double plays in the second and third, the
former coming within a hair's breadth of a triple play as Beltre just slid into
first ahead of the throw. But, still, they had enough against Lackey's old
teammates. In doing that, he survived a messy second inning with a single, walk,
hit batter to load the bases with two outs, and worked a solid seven innings,
throwing just 102 pitches, after having been 41 deep by the end of that second.
allowed just one run on two hits, one of them a solo home run by Brandon Wood in
the fifth. After that, Lackey got seven consecutive outs - six of them on ground
balls. In fact, Lackey got 13 of his 21 outs on ground balls, and four more on
last eight games, the Sox' starting pitchers have a 5-1 record with a 2.82 ERA,
with 42 strikeouts and 17 walks over 54 1/3 innings. In other words, they have
been what they were expected to be. The Sox haven't lost since they had their
team meeting upon returning to Boston, after a lost weekend in Baltimore. Asked
how much of an effect that had on the team, Lackey said, "I think they can help.
I think it's sometimes good just for things to at least be acknowledged out
loud. Sometimes the words aren't as important as the act."
Now, the Sox
have returned to .500, are on the verge of sweeping the Angels, and look
significantly more like the team they were supposed to be. Reminded that the Sox
had evened their record at 14-14, last night's starter didn't seem all that