May 24, 2013
For the first two years of his huge five-year $82.5M contract, John Lackey was a complete bust, posting a 5.26 ERA (82 ERA+) in 375.0 innings. After the 2011 season, he had Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2012 season. Going into 2013, the Red Sox still had two years to go on the deal, and know way of knowing what they'd be getting from Lackey. But so far this season he's returned to his earlier form, and tonight it difficult conditions shut down the Indians, allowing just a run on two hits in seven impressive innings.
Conversely, Justin Masterson didn't have the downward movement he usually had on his sinker, and fell behind quickly when Mike Carp (who had been mired in a long slump) crushed a three-run homer in the second inning. However, he recovered, much as Zach McAllister did after allowing a three-run homer on Thursday, to hold the Boston offense scoreless until late in his outing. In the sixth inning, the Red Sox tacked on another run, when Daniel Nava scored on a ground out. Masterson came out to start the seventh, gave up a leadoff double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and was removed in favor of Rich Hill. More about his outing later.
The only reason the Indians got on the board at all was because Terry Francona rolled the dice in the third inning. The Indians got what turned out to be their only two hits off Lackey to lead off the inning, but both Mark Reynolds and Michael Brantley were still on second and first, respectively, with two outs and Jason Kipnis at the plate. Then Francona called for a double steal, which nobody saw coming, since not only was there two outs, but Mark Reynolds was the lead runner. And not only did the Indians pull off the double steal, the Salatalamacchia's throw air-mailed third baseman Jose Iglesias, allowed Reynolds to come home. That would be the Cleveland offense, though, as the Indians would get just two hits more the entire rain-soaked evening.
When Rich Hill entered the game in the seventh, the Indians still had a puncher's chance of getting back into the game. When he left, it was 6-1 with a runner at third, and the Indians at that point were completely out of the game. Hill, after starting the season well, has really faltered over the last week or so. He's been used quite a bit lately, having appeared in six games over the last nine days, so maybe he's just tired, but as the only late left-hander in the bullpen (Scott Barnes was used yesterday as a longman), he's all the Indians have to use in the sixth/seventh inning against a tough left-hander. Although at this point I'd rather call on Cody Allen or Bryan Shaw, neither of whom are that bad against left-handed hitters.
The game was played under miserable conditions. Because the forecast was for rain almost the entire weekend, the game was started while it was still raining, something you almost never see. But because of the poor forecast, there was no guarantee that conditions would be any better Saturday or Sunday, and nobody wanted to have to make up a game on a common off-day later in the season.
Roll Call (29 Commenters)
|4||Full Bred Dawg||19|
|7||Marquess of Rockingham||17|