John Lackey’s strong performance was overshadowed by the Michael Pineda ejection in the second inning, but it was an impressive outing by Lackey none the less as the Boston Red Sox bounced back against the New York Yankees with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night. As the Boston Globe reports on April 24, Lackey’s performance remained a second thought after the game much to the annoyance of teammates.
Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was the most annoyed when questions concerning the game focused on Pineda being caught using a foreign substance on his neck. Pierzynski only had one word when he was asked about the Pineda situation and that wasn’t a very pleasant word. The catcher turned his attention back to Lackey, where he thought the focus should be. According to Pierzynski, “it took away from John Lackey. It took away from the game. It took away from us playing a good game, a game we needed to win.”
Pierzynski’s sentiments were shared by his teammates who also applauded the strong pitching performance by Lackey. The right-hander allowed just one run over eight innings to improve his record to 3-2. He also struck out 11 and gave up no walks. Lackey had two missions on his mind before entered the game. One was to give his team a chance to win and the other was the give his bullpen a rest. He said after the game, "I was thinking about trying to give the bullpen a rest, for sure. We’ve got some guys down there who had been working pretty good the last week or so, and I was trying to give those guys a breather and win a ballgame.”
The one run given up by Lackey was good enough to record a much-needed victory for the Sox. The offense showed a glimpse of breaking through. The scoring started when Grady Sizemore led off the game with a triple. Pedroia followed with an RBI single and later scored when Yankees second baseman Derek Jeter misplayed a ball up the middle off the bat of Pierzynski. The Red Sox scored two more runs in the third off of reliever David Phelps and added their fifth run in the eight inning when Xander Bogaerts scored on a single by Brock Holt.
Mike Napoli, who had three hits in the game, says he can feel the bats coming alive a bit. The Red Sox first baseman has been one of the bright spots offensively. He raised his average to .309 with his 3 for 4 performance. He said after the game, “I feel like we’re coming together now. Getting Shane [Victorino] back will be big for us because he does so many things.”
Notes: The Red Sox improved to 10-12 with the victory. The team will send Felix Doubrount to the mound against CC Sabathia. Sizemore was in a 1-for-26 slump before hitting a triple off of Pineda in the first inning. The Red Sox demoted the struggling Daniel Nava and recalled reliever Alex Wilson on Wednesday.