I guess the team didn’t get that particular memo that said that last night’s game has to be better, because it wasn’t. We may have scored something, but we still lost. It was terrible.
The good news is that Lackey wasn’t a complete and total disaster. Actually, on the contrary. He pitched just like an ace. He was one out shy of eight full innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits, walked only one, and struck out five. He threw ninety pitches, sixty-five for strikes. If it were any other pitcher, I would be concerned about the eight hits, but for Lackey, it’s business as usual.
Lackey’s keys to success? Two fastballs and a deadly slider. He used changeups, cutters, and cuveballs too, but both fastballs and the slider were really what did the hitters in. Despite the hits, he worked very efficiently; he actually needed only three pitches to secure two outs in the eighth inning, but he was taken out after allowing a triple that put runners at the corners. Morales came in for the last out of the inning.
In short, this was the best stuff we’ve seen from Lackey in a long time, too long for a starter as good as he’s supposed to be. And what does he have to show for it? A loss. It’s just sad. Although you have to admit that, even though we lost, at least we got to see him with good stuff. He allowed his first run on a couple of drives; his second was a solo shot hit on a curveball. In the spirit of justice and Interleague, he did his best to make up for it; he batted in our only run of the game. In the fifth inning, Reddick singled and scored on a double by Lackey. That double was one of only five total hits, and it was our only extra-base hit of the night. Reddick actually had the best offensive night of the lineup; he went two for three. Clearly, the move of Papi to first base and the resultant move of Gonzalez to right field for his first time in six years didn’t amount to anything. We left five on base and were 0 for a whopping 1 with runners in scoring position. We had a runner on first in the seventh with two out; Lackey stepped up to the plate but wasn’t so lucky. Tito had no choice; he couldn’t pinch-hit for a pitcher only seventy-seven pitches into a great night. He had no way of knowing that the Phillies would score their winning run a few minutes later and that that run would may as well have been a hundred. We went on to lose, 2-1.
We’ve lost six of our last eight and four of our first five games on this road trip. In the last five games, we have scored a grand total of only ten runs. And I don’t need to remind you that this has disastrously disastrous effects on the standings. It’s just pathetic to be reduced to hoping that you just don’t get swept. But at this point, straits are pretty dire, and we’ll just have to take what we can get and like it.