Tag Archives: John Lackey

This Week in Boston Baseballing, June 6 – 12

Three outs away from being swept in Detroit, the Red Sox came to life in the 9th inning on Sunday night, thanks to David Ortiz. Papi hit a moonshot off Joba Chamberlain to give Boston a 5-3 victory. The win reportedly came on the heels of the first “team meeting” called by John Farrell. The three-city, nine-game road trip still wound up a disaster as the team finished with a 2-7 mark after losing lose two of three against the Orioles in Baltimore.

The Sox returned to Fenway Park last night and won, 5-2, behind another strong outing from Jon Lester and this insane throw from Jackie Bradley Jr.

To Sell or Not to Sell
With Boston tied with Houston and leading only Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card standings going into last night, a healthy discussion has begun regarding a trade deadline that could involve the Red Sox as sellers rather than buyers. Boston has historically been a buyer around the end of July with only a few exceptions over the years. Most notably, the team was eventually a seller during the 2012 season. But that mega-deal with the LA Dodgers came in late August, nearly four weeks past the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Cherington’s public stance as of Monday:

“Obviously we’re not happy with where we are,’’ said Cherington, who joined the team here Tuesday and spoke with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That’s not up to our standard. We still believe it’s going to get better. We believe we have a very good team ahead of us this year. Most of that will come from within, guys here performing, getting back to a level they’re accustomed to.

“So look, we’re all in this together. We know collectively we have to get better. We’ve got to perform better. That starts with me. We have to make that happen. We’re not ready to proclaim this has to happen, or this has to happen. It won’t be any particular move.”

For what it’s worth, Boston inked outfielder Andres Torres earlier this week. He is unlikely to be ready before August and looks like nothing more than a right-handed platoon partner for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Debating John Lackey’s $500k option for 2015
Using a SoSH user poll as a proxy, it seems that the vast majority of Red Sox fans think John Lackey should be willing to play for $500,000 in 2015 since that’s what his original contract with the Red Sox calls for if he missed a season. Would he play for the league minimum is another question entirely, of course. Boston is in a precarious position with Jon Lester heading toward a likely nine-figure free agency contract and Clay Buchholz no longer looking like a reliable front-end starter. There is probably some angst on both sides of this business arrangement, even though neither has expressed it publicly. The best solution is probably one of those perfect compromises in which both sides give a little and walk away slightly unhappy. As of right now, if there were Vegas odds made for who would start Opening Day for the 2015 Red Sox, John Lackey would probably have the shortest odds given what we know right now.

Brandon Workman Takes No-Hitter into the 6th Inning
The lone Red Sox win in Baltimore came thanks in large part to Brandon Workman’s 6 ⅔ shutout innings against the formidable O’s offense. It was the team’s first 1-0 win of the season. Overall, Workman’s been fine as a fill-in starter. His K/BB rate (21:10) over 28 innings isn’t great, but he’s been solid enough to join Rubby De La Rosa as a guy who could be given an extended shot in the starting rotation this summer.

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Local Man’s Game Recap (Red Sox 4, Braves 0)

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BY FRANCIS FLYNN*

CARVER, Mass. – Good to see the ol’ gang back together again. First time since 2004 since all the champs were in the same place. (Had my eyes peeled but couldn’t find Leskanic, though.)

I was especially happy Keith Foulke was at the Fens. That guy had ice water in his veins all year and was automatic in the playoffs. Au-to-ma-tic. Makes me want to check the sked over at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. Maybe Danzig’ll get back together again and tour. I bet they do a kickass live version of “Mother.” I’ll show up with my lawn chair, wearing my No. 29 Foulke jersey tee (sleeves cut) and a bagful of BK Whoppers.

Manny’s Mr. T mohawk wasn’t surprising. Yah, he was a punk but he was a modern day Hack Wilson and yous can all call me an old fogey if ya want for talking about ribbies. Manny was like an automatic two RBIs every time he stepped to the plate.

The best part was they helped keep the Sox rolling. Three straight against Atlanta now. That’s what they get for leaving Mass. I don’t give a care how long ago that was.

Johnny Lackey was on his game tonight. Brought the A stuff to the table just when the team needed it. Had to keep it going and Lack was just on point. Nine K’s. No walks. I thought he was gonna kill Farrell when he came out to get him in the middle of a jam in the 7th. He’s a bulldog so he just doesn’t know any better. He’s gonna fight giving up that ball – even when he knows his arm is turning to dogshit. Love that as a fan.

All that being said, I’ve also got a bone to pick with Johnny Farrell that I’d like to put out there for mass consumption: Brock Holt leading off? The guy goes 0-for-5 basically every night he starts. I swear I’m not just saying that because he went 0-for-5 last night. His diminished stature at third base has already costed a game in the standings. And he gets to lead off in a game at Fenway as a reward.

That’s not to say the guy has no talent. In fact, I know he’s got his moments – Some day somebody at MIT’s gonna find a bunch of his equations written all over a empty classroom’s chalkboard. (Dude’s a dead-on ringer for Will Hunting!) But until that time…well, let’s all hope Steve Drew’s getting close to being about done horsing around in the minors.

*Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

Terse Predictions: 2013 World Series Game 6, St. Louis @ Boston

Opportunities like the one in front of the Red Sox going into World Series Game 6 at Fenway Park tonight happen pretty rarely. Trying to predict how things will unfold is a fool’s errand. So here are some foolhardy forecasts.

1. Multiple members of the Boston infield will work 10+ pitch at-bats against Michael Wacha.

2. Jacoby Ellsbury will record at least one stolen base.

3. John Lackey will throw first-pitch strikes to five batters the first time through the order and six batters during the second turn through the order.

4. David Ortiz will swing at a total of just three pitches tonight.

5. Papi will put only one of those pitches in play.

6. The game will be decided by more than three runs.

7. Xander Bogaerts pitches seen: 22

8. Koji Uehara pitches thrown: 14

9. Carlos Martinez pitches thrown: 26

10.
Trevor Rosenthal pitches thrown: 19

Terse Predictions: World Series Game 2, St. Louis @ Boston

Knee jerk, reactionary, non-replay-eligible thoughts on what will happen in Game 2 of the World Series tonight at Fenway Park.

1. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma will cleanly record an out in the first inning and receive one of the loudest mock cheers from the Fenway crowd in recent memory.

2. The margin of victory will be two runs.

3. John Lackey will not finish the 7th inning.

4. Lackey’s average fastball velocity over the first three innings will be 94 mph.

5. During the team’s first turn through the order, three Red Sox batters will swing at the first pitch.

6. Shane Victorino will bat right-handed and left-handed before the night is over.

7. Jonny Gomes will strike out multiple times against Michael Wacha.

8. Michael Wacha’s total pitches thrown: 110

9. John Lackey’s total pitches thrown: 95

10. Koji Uehara’s total pitches thrown: 20

Terse, Hopefully Not Too Painfully Inaccurate Predictions: ALCS Game 3, Boston @ Detroit

Specific forecasts for this afternoon’s ballgame.

1. Shane Victorino will get hit by a pitch WELL outside the strike zone. But it will happen at a point in the game when it is clear that it was accidental.

2. Building on the previous thought, warnings will be issued to both dugouts by the home plate umpire at some point in the first three innings of this game.

3. Miguel Cabrera will hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to right field.

4. John Lackey will hit 95 mph on the radar gun multiple times during the 6th inning.

5. Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli will combine for six strikeouts.

6. Stephen Drew will hit a triple.

7. Justin Verlander will NOT post double-digit strikeouts. Anyone taking the over 7.5 strikeouts line being thrown around Vegas and Bovada.lv will still be sweating their wager in the 7th inning.

8. First-pitch strikes will rule the day for both Lackey and Justin Verlander, resulting in a ballgame clocking in under three hours.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, Aug. 30 – Sept. 5

Boston swept its three-game set against the Chicago White Sox last weekend and then took two of three from Detroit. The Sox capped off the week by handing the Yankees a demoralizing defeat in the first game of its four-game series in the Bronx. New York battled back from a 7-2 deficit to take a 8-7 lead before Mariano Rivera, who looks like he could pitch another 10 years, had a rare blown save.

Thanks to Tampa Bay’s struggles in Anaheim and Oakland, the Red Sox were able to increase their lead in the AL East to 6 ½ games. Boston’s lead over Detroit for the AL’s best record stands at three games. Despite the loss to Boston last night, the Yankees have seen their playoff odds increase 6.0 percentage points to 10% during the past week while Tampa’s West Coast slide has dropped its odds from about 86% to 74%, based on the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds page.

Boston Wins in 10 Innings In New York
The Red Sox appeared to be on their way to a fairly comfortable win Thursday night before the Yankees exploded for six runs in the 7th inning. If this game had been played a week ago, Boston may have lost. The Sox scratched out a run in the ninth off Rivera thanks to a two-out single from Mike Napoli, who was lifted for pinch-runner Quintin Berry, a speed-first guy who is a luxury that can only be afforded on a 40-man roster. Berry promptly stole second and moved to third after the throw short-hopped Captain Jetes and wound up in shallow left field.*

quintin berry takes 3rd

*Dennis Eckersley did his best John Madden in Super Bowl XXXVI impression by initially questioning why Berry would be stealing second base with two outs in the 9th inning. You can almost hear the instant NESN producers were in his ear and good old Eck quickly did the right thing by mentioning Dave Roberts.

The Yankees provided to final two blunders of the night: Alfonso Soriano insisted on stealing every base possible against Craig Breslow, leading to his pickoff trying to steal third with one out in the ninth. And with the game in the balance, Joe Girardi brought Joba Chamberlain in for the 10th inning. If Joe Girardi promises to continue using one of his worst relievers in high-leverage, late-innings spots, Boston fans ought to start routing for New York to sneak into the playoffs.

girardi is disappointed

Boston Peppers the Fenway Stands During Eight-HR Night
The Sox hit dingers all over the park on Wednesday night. Daniel Nava’s two-run home run in the 6th inning, one of eight home runs hit by the team, chose a hefty fan’s face as its landing pad. Sure, this poor woman getting a face-full of beer thanks to the jackass sitting next to her got all the attention. But the fallout for this guy over the past couple of days has probably been a lot worse…

David Ortiz Collects His 2,000th Hit
Big Papi doubled off Al Alburquerque on Wednesday night during a 6th inning in which the Red Sox batted around and scored eight runs to turn the rubber game against Detroit into a blowout. Ortiz would later hit a homer in the 8th inning to pace the Red Sox’s 20-4 victory.

Boston Makes Some Roster Moves
During a season in which the Red Sox have remained relatively healthy as a team throughout, the September roster moves were exactly what a fan hopes for – marginal acquisitions and call-ups that add depth rather than address serious holes. The Red Sox acquired utility infielder John McDonald from Philadelphia in one of those “ depth” moves that probably spells doom if the player actually sees any at-bats in October. As part of September roster expansion, the Sox also recalled youngsters Rubby de la Rosa and Ryan Lavarnway. Matt Thornton and Brandon Snyder were also activated off the disabled list.

Lester Outduels Scherzer
Jon Lester faced off against Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer on Tuesday night and came away victorious, 2-1. Lester allowed one run, struck out nine batters and walked none while Scherzer walked three Red Sox and gave up two runs. The game will undoubtedly be pointed to later this month by advocates of Lester as Boston’s Game 1 playoff starter (if the Sox have the luxury to align the rotation). The whole decision could hinge on who has the best Angry Face on the team:

lester angry

Boston Herald Photo

lackey angry espn

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Buchholz Sets A Return Date?
Clay Buchholz made his last rehab start on Thursday night, throwing 71 pitches and striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. Clay could be back on the mound for Boston as soon as Tuesday night, assuming the Red Sox are keeping him on a relatively normal throwing schedule.

Theo Decides to Give Daniel Bard Another Whirl
Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein claimed Daniel Bard off waivers Wednesday after Boston designated the embattled right-handed reliever for assignment.

USA Today Names A ‘Minor League Player of the Year’?
They do. And this year’s winner was Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts joins some fairly lofty company – Andruw Jones (twice!), Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton as well as former Red Sox Gabe Kapler (1998) and Josh Beckett (2001).

Colour Commentary: Red Sox Hot Stove Analysis From Liverpool

O, dear brothers, surrounded by ignorant droogs interested only in footie, Your Humble Narrator across the pond just barely survived the most dreadful torture of a Sox-less World Series. Take pity, my dear friends, on the no doubt several thousand fools who viddied such senseless rubbish. (That wanker Edgar Renteria as MVP? A bloody travesty!)

Thank goodness for the great hot stove winter season, an orgy of free agent signings, arbitration offers/non-offers and key trade transactions. Our favourite baseball club in Boston shall no doubt be active.

It seems to me, dear brothers and sisters, that there are many issues confronting Lord Theo and his apprentices. In between fantastic visions of saddling that prime baboochka Heidi Watney with the old in-out, in-out, YHN has constructed a game plan of sorts for a successful winter.

Sir Ortise
Well pull down my knickers and twink my willy, the beloved designated swatter did not go zero-for-600 as some predicted in early April. Lord David’s rookers are a bit slower through the strike zone these days, but Your Humble Narrator modestly proposes extending Big Papi for no more than, say 15 million gollies ($21m US) for three more years. After which time, your narrator most enthusiastically volunteers to take the ageing man out to the nearest woodshed for proper burial.

Victour Martinez

How frightfully distressing all this talk of Jason Varitek’s potential return has been on Your Humble Narrator’s poor gutsalug. The team must simply rid itself of this bloke, everything from the horrific pop-disk at-bat musical introduction to his oozhasny discipline at the dish.

Meanwhile, Victor Martinez is adequate behind the dish, adds insurance at first base, shows a mighty good swing and makes us all shite our knickers in laughter when he rubs Adrian Beltre’s incredibly irritable gulliver. And he can be signed for three years if the money is right. And he’s a good teammate. And Bob’s your uncle.

Papelbonbon
Dear brothers, I confess to many times this past season soiling my poor neezhnies when brother Pap took the hill. A most unfavourable feeling of nausea overtakes my innards when I think about an arbiter awarding this man more than 10 million gollies to continue twisting up my embattled knickers. A trade of Dropkick Pap for  perhaps one major-league ready player and some B-level prospects would greatly please YHN, who, I must state, never could love the boy after his mock on-field display of the dance of Satan himself: the Irish step. Ship him up—and out—of Boston.

The Corner Soomkas
My friends, first and third are two positions of extreme importance for any organisation, particularly as poor brother Youkilis’ stardom will likely be continuously challenged by high, tight pitches aimed at his gulliver. The wear and tear on the Greek God of Knocks leads YHN to believe first base is the place for his talents.

And what more need be said of Adrian Beltre, dear reader, than all the praise already heaped in local gazettas? His 2010 was the dog’s bollocks, which may just be a problem for Lord Theo when it comes to signing a fair-market deal. Nevertheless, YHN believes the rumpy pumpy marriage between Beltre and Fenway Park is one that could thrive for four more years.

Unless the veck wants something obscene like $13 million ($18m US) per year. In that case, he may kindly piss off and waste away his inconsequential final years somewhere else as we question his true commitment and openly root against him from afar.

Jayson Werth
Devote readers, a veteran player with postseason success (tied for the most NL home runs all time), a scraggly beard, dirty hat and hard, desirous look (white) will most certainly fit into this team bloody well if either Sir Victour or Lord Adrian defect elsewhere. Let’s say four years, $34m eurogollies ($48m US).

The Rotation
Welly, welly, well it does appear the future is mostly bright here. In addition to Master Lester, Brother Clay has become a top-class ace. It was clear his newly domesticated existence cleared his gulliver of the siren’s call of the strange, clearing his mind in order to perfect command of his fantastic change-up.

I believe the recent birth of a mini Clay will afford even less time for lubbilubbing with various dolled-up Hags of the Hub. A solid follow-up to this past season would be most agreeable.

John Lackey was certainly a one-man horrour show in 2010. But the righty has a swell, jagged set of teeth with which to grit as he continues to eat up innings for the club for the next—hang on one moment while I check this media guide—FOUR HONKING YEARS??!! Oh…oh my. You noble narrator will simply close his eyes when Lackey takes the hill. Oh, I simply must find a rubbish right away…

[This is several hours later, dear reader] YHN notes this veck Daisuke can’t be fagged to throw one pitch in less time than my old lady takes to fix her Earl Gray. He quite simply must be dispatched to a poorly run organization in the National League before YHN’s patience is tried.

That is all, for now, dear readers. Your horrid American businessmen, click-clacking away on Dingleberrys up in the Fenway pavilion seats, have officially exhausted the standard British sign off (“Cheers”). So YHN will instead leave with a simple ta ta.