Posts Tagged ‘Rick Miller’

I will tell you right now what John Lackey needs to do.  John Lackey needs to go up to every member of last night’s starting lineup, shake his hand, and thank him profusely for providing heaps of insurance.  Especially V-Mart, but we’ll get to that later, because that was the highlight yesterday.  It sure wasn’t Lackey.  John Lackey allowed a season-high twelve hits in six innings last night.  I give credit where credit is due, so I’ll admit that it was impressive that somehow only four runs scored on those twelve hits, so Lackey may have gotten the win, but that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for some big bats.

In addition to those four runs on twelve hits, he walked two and struck out four.  The offensive bailout has been a theme.  He’s six and three with a 4.95 ERA, which means that he’s allowing runs but somehow he’s getting those wins.

In the fourth, the A’s loaded the bases with nobody out, but Lackey got out of it.  But that valiant effort was sandwiched between a two-run homer in the third and another two runs in the fifth.  Not surprisingly, he needed twenty-two and twenty-six pitches to get through those bookend innings and then another game-high twenty six to get through his last.  He started off promising with an efficient, ten-pitch first, but ended up firing a grand total of 116, mostly cutters and fastballs.  His fastball and slider were outstanding, his curveball was decent, his changeup was mediocre, and his cutter, not coincidentally his pitch of choice last night, was really just not that great.  He only threw it for strikes half the time.  His whole strike zone shifted to the left.  His release point, which was pretty loose, didn’t help either.

I think I’m going to write this season off.  We’ve seen this plenty of times before.  It’s a commonly known fact that a player in a Boston uniform is only as good as his sophomore season in said uniform.  I think we should wait until we see what he’s got next year before judging the signing.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t expect him to pitch well this year.  I very much expect him to pitch well this year.  I’m just saying that we don’t have to worry about him here in the long run because I have a feeling he’ll right himself eventually.  Is the meantime a cause for concern? Yes.  But that’s a separate issue, one that the offense, luckily, is currently taking care of.

And speaking of the offense, let’s delve into that, shall we? The final score was 9-4, so we scored more than twice their runs with only one more hit.  Beltre got us on the board with two out in the fifth with a three-run shot into the Monster seats.  And when I say a shot, I mean a shot.  That was what Pedroia might call a laser.  That, ladies and gentlemen, was a hard-hit ball.  A lesson to all the pitchers out there: don’t hang your curveballs.  In his last thirteen games, Beltre is batting a hot .451 with four dingers and sixteen RBIs.  He loves two-strike counts.  He’s going all out with the power.  It’s awesome.

In the sixth, Pedroia got warmed up by grounding into a double play, allowing Hall to score and McDonald to move to third.  Then V-Mart came up and smacked a ground-rule double, the first of many, to score him.  In the seventh, Drew scored on Hall’s triple.

Then we have the eighth.  V-Mart hit another ground-rule double to score Pedroia, and Youk singled him in and then promptly scored on Drew’s single.

Pedroia’s double in the eighth snapped his hitless streak at seventeen at-bats.  Plus, he snared Cust’s potential line drive in the second with a backhanded diving stop.  Only Pedroia makes plays like that.  Youk went two for four.  Beltre went three for five.

But Victor Martinez went five for five! Perfect at the plate with four doubles! A single right up the middle to center field.  Then a double off the scoreboard.  Another double off the wall with a swing so powerful he almost tripped over it.  A third double into the triangle out in center.  And his fourth down the right field line, just fair by inches.  That was one of his best performances at the plate, ever.  When V-Mart told Lackey before he tossed his final pitch that he should hang in there because he’d take care of him, he wasn’t kidding.  If there was a hole, V-Mart found it.  If there was a good swing to be made, he made it.  And he made history, too.  He was the first Major League catcher to hit four doubles in one game since Sandy Alomar did it for the Indians on June 6, 1997, also at Fenway.  And he was the first in a Boston uniform to do it since Rick Miller on May 11, 1981 in Toronto.  He’s had sixteen hits in his last thirty-one at-bats, improving his average to .279.  If he continues at this rate, it won’t be long before he hits that .300 mark.

Delcarmen and Bard each got a hold.  Nelson didn’t get a save.  Too much of a blowout.

Cameron was out with soreness.  Hopefully his performance on Sunday didn’t take too much out of him.

For the team, that would be our eleventh hit in fourteen games.  And it was a good one.  If there is a team in this league that’s on a roll, it’s us.  We’re five games out of first, but by taking it one game at a time and building on our momentum, we’ll be at the top soon enough.  Dice-K will hopefully help us get there when he takes on Sheets tonight.  But with him, you really never know.  I’ve never meant that statement about a pitcher more than I do when I make it about him.  When he takes the hill, you really just don’t know what you’re going to get.  Hopefully, we’ll get the Dice-K who almost threw a no-no.  But you never know.  Hold on to your hats.

AP Photo

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