“I was definitely not trying to hit him,” he [Lackey] said. “I was trying to knock him down for sure. You can see where he stands in the box. You’ve got to knock him off the plate a little. I threw a 3-1 pitch that he hit out. I was definitely not trying to hit him, but I was trying to move him back. You definitely don’t want to put a base-runner on in a two-run ballgame.”
and there’s this:
“I’ve been fined twice for hitting guys this year, and I’ve paid them because they were right,” he [Lackey] said. “But this one, I’m not afraid to tell you if I’m trying to hit somebody. I would’ve told him to his face.”
I totally buy it. While I get that Lackey has a history of letting his emotions come out at inappropriate times on the field and that it must have been frustrating to give up a bomb to the likes of Francisco Cervelli and then watch him celebrate at home plate as if he was Aaron Boone, the game was still close when Cervelli got hit and with the way things were going I have a difficult time believing Lackey purposely put a guy on base just because the guy was a jackass who hit a home run off of Â him. Â I’ll say this, though, I won’t be sad if before the series is over we have multiple photos of Jarrod Saltalamacchia holding Cervelli in a headlock.
The game certainly didn’t go the way anyone wanted but since most folks had written it off because of the pitching match-ups, I didn’t see too much hand-wringing from the fans last night. Â (Though it is definitely fair to note that the Red Sox didn’t lose because John Lackey gave up five runs, they lost because they ended up with 16 men left on base for the night. Although CC bested him in the strike out department, Lackey actually gave up less hits than Sabathia did. Try as we might, this one can’t be pinned solely on John Lackey.)
Also worth noting: When I checked at 7am today, the Red Sox had tickets available for tonight’s game online (without having to go through a ticket broker). Â So if you’re up early and looking to head into town, head over to redsox.com first.
I found Joe Girardi freaking out to the point of getting tossed in the ninth inning when his team was up 5-2 with Mariano Rivera on the mound interesting. Â Here’s what he said about it:
“It was a swing,” Girardi said before referring to third base umpire Mark Wegner. “He said, ‘He didn’t swing.’ It was a swing. Clear as day. That’s a big baserunner because a home run ties the game. That’s a huge baserunner.”
Now I won’t argue that it wasn’t a huge baserunner, because it was. Watching the game my thoughts ran to the other times the Red Sox have beaten Mariano Rivera and hope stayed with me until the final out. Last time the Sox and Yanks met I was mocked on Twitter for saying I wasn’t intimidated by Mo and that I knew the Red Sox could beat him. Apparently, Girardi gets this. If he had that confidence in Rivera that used to be automatic, would he have lost his mind the way he did last night? And if you get a chance, go and check out Mo’s strike zone from last night. Jed Lowrie struck out looking on a ball so far off the plate I’m surprised the bat girl sitting on the third base line didn’t try to get it. Talk about how Mariano Rivera is “still” the best reliever in the game and then got look at his strike zone for various games. The “old” guy is getting a lot of sentimental calls and it’s too bad because it cheapens how good he is. Â That isn’t to say his career doesn’t prove he’s an amazing pitcher, of course it does. Â But it’s tough to take the talk of how amazing he STILL is when we have technology to prove he sometimes gets a bit of help from the umpires. Â Just ask Jed Lowrie.
Looking forward to Josh Beckett pitching tonight and hoping if anyone decides to remind Francisco Cervelli that he’s Francisco Cervelli it comes with a 10-run Red Sox lead.