Mar 22, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcherJohn Lackey
(41) reacts after a play during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
While it is still Spring Training and game results do not matter, we are just over a week from opening day, so performances do. John Lackey was on the hill today for the Boston Red Sox, and his fastball was sitting between 90 and 91 MPH, which is a small concern since, according to Brooks Baseball, he only had two months in 2013 where his average fastball was even below 92. The positive is the fact those were the first two months of the season, so his fastball will likely improve as the season starts and progresses.
Lackey only made it through 4.2 innings, gave up 10 hits and a handful of runs, but he didn’t walk anyone and did strike out six. The Atlanta Braves got to him early, as two of the first three batters recorded a hit, including an RBI double from Freddie Freeman. Lackey was finally pulled from the game after a Dan Uggla home run and Ryan Doumit double with two outs in the fifth.
The day was not all bad for Lackey though. In the third inning, Jordan Schafer tried to reach on a drag bunt, but Lackey hurried off the mound, got to the ball a little more than halfway between the mound and first base, and flipped the ball with his glove to the Daniel Nava at first as he flopped forward in a dive of sorts to record the out. It most certainly is deserving of a Web Gem. Later in the inning, Freddie Freeman drilled a line drive right off Lackey’s backside. Lackey quickly scooped up the ball and threw it to first in an attempt to throw Freeman out, but instead drilled him right in the lower back. Certainly nothing intentional, but there was almost certainly a “you hit me and I will hit you” type joke said by Lackey after the play.
I was really looking forward to get another look at Dalier Hinojosa, and boy was I disappointed. Hinojosa gave up back-to-back singles, then a walk, followed by a well hit sacrifice fly to deep center field that nearly got over Keury De La Cruz‘ head. Hinojosa then walked the next batter and John Farrell had seen enough. Hinojosa’s command of his pitches was non-existent today, too often missing up and out of the zone with his curve, which is never a good sign.
Offensively, the Red Sox didn’t fair much better, but they were facing Alex Wood and his now 0.45 spring ERA. They did manage put up three runs on nine hits, with Mike Napoli and Jackie Bradley Jr. each having an RBI single, while Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI double in the seventh, but that was the lone extra-base hit the Red Sox mustered all day. David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes were the only two expected regulars not to play today, as the Sox fall to 8-14 this spring, but they still have nine days before they kick off the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles.