|10.24.13 at 11:06 am ET|
John Lackey, unlike most Red Sox hurlers, has pitched in the World Series before — thrice, actually.
He gave up six runs in 12 1/3 innings against the Giants as a 24-then-25-year-old rookie en route to the 2002 title with the Angels. Lackey’s five innings of one-run ball in Game 7 paved the way for a 4-1 win.
So what can he take from that experience, 11 years, five playoff bids and one Tommy John surgery ago?
“Not a whole lot,” Lackey said Wednesday, on his 35th birthday. “That I’m old, I guess.
“The main thing is you realize how hard it is to get here. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been here. Been chasing it for a while, and you probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie.”
So Thursday night, when he takes to the Fenway Park mound for Game 2 of this year’s Fall Classic against the Cardinals, he’ll take that extra decade’s worth of appreciation with him.
He won’t pretend it’s just another start, either.
“It’s not a normal game. It’s a playoff game. It’s a big game, for sure,” Lackey said. “It’s going to be cold. And it’s just that feeling in the air, for sure, that it’s October and it’s different. And you’ve got to embrace that, have fun with it and go get after it.”
It will have been nine days since Lackey last pitched — ALCS Game 3, when he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Detroit — and he owns a career 4.24 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and .271 opponents batting average when throwing after six or more days off.
But pitching on irregular rest isn’t anything too out of the ordinary, Lackey noted. He has pitched just 12 innings in the last month, with 11 days off before his lone ALDS start, then 10 more before he saw action in the ALCS.
“I’m better at it since I’ve done it a few times,” Lackey said. “I throw a little bit more on the side. … I didn’t throw probably quite as much as I needed to that time [before the ALDS]. So the next time against Detroit I threw extra, even threw [to] some hitters. And this time I’ve thrown off the mound a few times, just trying to keep that feel, for sure.
Lackey wasn’t too interested in discussing the Cardinals, who scored the third-most runs in baseball during the regular season, but he did say St. Louis is “really deep, really similar to an American League lineup.”
“They’re good. They’re in the World Series,” Lackey said. “There’s no bad teams left.”
|10.24.13 at 10:50 am ET|
When John Lackey takes the mound for Game 2, not only will he have the daunting task of slowing the Cardinals’ explosive offense, he’ll have to beat arguably the hottest postseason pitcher in Michael Wacha.
Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) and Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) square off one day after the Red Sox took a 1-0 series lead with a 8-1 win at Fenway Park. Game 2 also takes place at Fenway at 8:07 p.m.
Most recently, Lackey outdueled the Tigers’ Justin Verlander on Oct. 15 in Game 3 of the ALCS. With the series tied at one game apiece, Lackey tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings in Boston’s 1-0 win. He allowed just four hits with zero walks and struck out eight.
After facing a first-inning jam, Lackey allowed just two hits in his final 5 2/3 innings. In the bottom of the seventh, with Boston leading 1-0, Lackey retired Prince Fielder, gave up a single to Victor Martinez and induced a fly out before being pulled for Craig Breslow. The lefty walked Alex Avila, but then Omar Infante grounded out to end the rally. Mike Napoli’s seventh-inning solo home run was enough, as the Red Sox went on to win.
“The guys came through and my boy took care of me once again,” Lackey said of Napoli. “He’s hit some dingers for me, and it was a big one today.”
Lackey started Game 2 of the ALDS vs. the Rays on Oct. 5. He picked up the win despite getting roughed up a bit. Tampa Bay pushed across four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against Lackey, but Boston’s offense backed him in the team’s 7-4 win.
Lackey did not face the Cardinals this season, nor has he faced them in 337 career regular-season and postseason starts with the Red Sox and Angels.
Providing Lackey with run support will be difficult against Wacha, who’s allowed just one run in three postseason starts thus far.
The rookie comes off an NLCS Game 6 win at Busch Field on Oct. 18, as he stymied the Dodgers in seven innings of work. Wacha did not allow a run, and Los Angeles only managed two hits while striking out five times against Wacha.
|10.24.13 at 10:40 am ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ 8-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Sox capitalized early, scoring five runs in the first two innings against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Boston took advantage of several Cardinals miscues, as St. Louis committed three errors in the game.
“Well, it was a good outcome. I thought we had a really good approach against Wainwright, whose a fantastic pitcher, particularly the middle of the order,” Cherington said. “Obviously Lester back it up and pitched terrifically, so it was a good start and we know the Cardinals are a really good team and I’m sure we’ll have another tough test tonight.”
Perhaps the biggest turning point in the game happened in the first inning, as the umpires convened and overturned a ruling by Dana DeMuth that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma lost a potential double-play ball on the exchange, giving the Cardinals an out at second. The ruling that the runner was safe would be huge, as Mike Napoli responded in the ensuing at-bat with a bases-clearing double that gave the Sox a 3-0 lead.
“It seems to me like the most important thing in a game like this is to make sure as much on the field goes as right as possible and is as fair as possible,”Cherington said. “In the end, they got the call right and I think the umpires should be commended for that. It’s also pretty clear that Major League Baseball, it’s what they want to have happen and in the future, there will more of a formal mechanism in place for it to happen, but credit the umpires for taking it upon themselves last night to make sure the call was right.”
Sox manager John Farrell made the call to go with Jonny Gomes in left field over Daniel Nava once again. Despite the fact that Nava has put together better numbers this season, including a .303 batting average (eighth in the AL) and a .385 OBP, Boston has performed much better with Gomes in the lineup this postseason — a 7-0 record.
“Jonny Gomes helps us win. Most of the time that he’s in there, [he] helps us win in a lot of different ways, and sometimes it’s his bat, sometimes it’s with the defense, sometimes it’s with a smart play,” Cherington said. “We know that we have basically two left fielders that have helped us all year and I think you’ll see Nava in there before the series is over. John is just trying to use both guys and find the best matchups to use both guys. … If you just went strictly by the numbers, I suppose Nava would be in there all the time and I think John just feels like what’s best for the team is to still use both, because both guys were so instrumental in getting us to this point, so I think you will see both over the course of the series.”
|10.24.13 at 10:08 am ET|
During the Red Sox’ Game 1 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night, there was some discoloration on the inside of Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester‘s glove. One video clip shows Lester touching the greenish/yellowish area with the tips of two fingers as he gets ready to throw a pitch.
That was enough for Cardinals minor league pitcher Tyler Melling to tweet out his concern: Jon Lester using a little Vaseline inside the glove tonight?
Jon Lester using a little Vaseline inside the glove tonight? pic.twitter.com/IyQn2iqg5f
— Tyler Melling (@TylerMelling) October 24, 2013
This isn’t the first time the Cardinals have been in involved in a controversy regarding an opposing pitcher in the World Series. In 2006, Tigers hurler Kenny Rogers was accused by members of the Cardinals organization of using pine tar and scuffing baseballs after a substance was spotted on his pitching hand in Detroit’s 3-1 victory in Game 2. The umpiring crew determined the substance was dirt.
|10.24.13 at 8:06 am ET|
After an 8-1 drubbing of a loss to the Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series, the Cardinals agreed on one thing: This is not who they are.
Ace Adam Wainwright gave up five runs (three earned) in five innings, and that’s not who he is. Sure-handed shortstop Pete Kozma made a pair of errors, and that’s not who he is. Third baseman David Freese had a throwing error, and catcher Yadier Molina and Wainwright let a pop-up drop between them, and that’s not who they are, either.
Surely, after a 97-65 regular season, then dispatching the Pirates and Dodgers en route to the Series, the Cardinals are a better team than what they showed Wednesday, they said.
“This is the way baseball goes sometimes,” second baseman Matt Carpenter said. “When a play like [the first-inning error by Kozma] happens, it can kind of unravel. It seems like you can’t stop the bleeding, you’re down 5-0. It’s just one of those nights.”
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, like each of his players, was disappointed in the fundamental breakdowns. He echoed their sentiment that this was not a representative example of Cardinals baseball.
“We had a wake-up call,” Matheny said. “That is not the kind of team that we’ve been all season. And they’re frustrated. I’m sure embarrassed, to a point.”
The first lapse resulted in a tone-setting call reversal in the first inning — Dustin Pedroia was eventually ruled safe at second when the umpires ruled Kozma never had the ball — and it opened the door for three Red Sox runs. On Mike Napoli’s ensuing bases-clearing double, St. Louis centerfielder Shane Robinson bobbled the ricochet off the Green Monster, allowing David Ortiz score all the way from first.
|10.24.13 at 8:00 am ET|
Last offseason, the Red Sox needed a right-handed, middle-of-the-order complement to David Ortiz, someone who would work pitchers over and elevate their pitch counts, trying to wear them down before identifying a pitch to which he could do damage. They wanted a positive clubhouse presence, a player who would embrace the sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding nature of playing in Boston.
They wanted Mike Napoli.
Napoli represented the team’s top priority at the start of the offseason, a player so central to the team’s hopes for restoring a deep, imposing lineup that principal owner John Henry joined the dinner courtship of him when the Red Sox front office was making its recruiting pitch. While his tortuous offseason saga is now well-documented, it’s safe to say that in the end, after a negotiation that took a confounding number of turns, both Napoli and the Sox got exactly what they wanted.
The Sox got their middle-of-the-order slugger to hit behind Ortiz, a player who has taken the postseason by storm in the past week-plus while delivering considerable thump against some of the top pitchers in the majors.
Against the Tigers in the ALCS, his offense represented the difference in victories over Justin Verlander in Game 3 and Anibal Sanchez in Game 5. On Thursday, in Game 1 of the World Series, he once again helped to jumpstart the Sox offense, following the reversal of a blown call on Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma‘s error by smoking a bases-loaded, three-run double in the bottom of the first inning against St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, setting in motion the Sox’ offensive eruption en route to an 8-1 victory. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.24.13 at 2:55 am ET|
Off the bat, it seemed like it might be two outs. Then it was ruled one out. And then overruled to be no outs.
The biggest swing moment of Game 1 of the World Series undoubtedly took place in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on first and second, David Ortiz got jammed on a 92 mph cutter and rolled it to second baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter struggled for an instance to get a grip on the ball before he flipped it to shortstop Pete Kozma. While the feed was true, the ball ended up on the ground.
Kozma knew what had happened.
“I just missed it,” the shortstop rued. “Carpenter made a good feed and I just didn’t get my glove on it.”
But second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled that Kozma had lost the handle on the ball only after securing the ball for a force out. The Sox, however, felt confident that Kozma had closed his glove too soon, with the ball never making it inside and instead kicking off the tip of the glove.
Dustin Pedroia, who had been ruled out at second, lodged the first protest.
“I just slid in there and I thought [the drop] wasn’t on the transfer,” Pedroia said. “I saw what everyone else did. I said, ‘He dropped it.’ He said, ‘No, it was on the transfer.’ I just said, ‘OK.’ It’s not my job to argue.”
It is, however, the job of manager John Farrell to do just that. And so, he jogged from the Red Sox dugout to talk to DeMuth and to ask him to confer with his peers. Read the rest of this entry »
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder
- Cecchini, Ranaudo, Brentz added to 40-man roster
- Red Sox 40-man roster additions expected