Tough loss for Lackey despite feeling good on mound

Tough loss for Lackey despite feeling good on mound
July 6, 2014, 1:00 am
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BOSTON - John Lackey had really good stuff today.

That's according to both himself and his manager.

But the numbers don't exactly back it up - not completely, anyways.

First, the good news. Lackey struck out 11 batters and only walked one.

Now, the bad. He gave up 10 hits and 5 earned runs in just 5.1 innings and 120 pitches (82 strikes). He got the loss, falling to 9-6, after the Orioles scored four runs in the 6th inning once he left the game with two men on base. The outcome to the game was a bit of a head-scratcher for Lackey.

"Honestly that's about as good of stuff as I've had all year," Lackey said. "I'm still trying to figure out what happened honestly, I don't know how I gave up five runs to be honest with you. But you have to give their guys a lot of credit. Tough lineup. I made a couple mistakes and they hit a couple balls out of the park."

Both Nick Hundley and Nelson Cruz went deep on Lackey in this one, Hundley with a two-run shot in the 2nd and Cruz with a solo shot in the 5th. Cruz's came with an 0-2 count.

The 11 strikeouts were the most a Red Sox pitcher had ever thrown in an outing of less than 6.0 innings. But it was literally hit or miss for the Orioles.

"It seemed like every time they touched the ball it was a hit," Lackey said. "They were finding the holes. It was basically either a strikeout or a hit."

Lackey is one to attack the strike zone constantly, work quickly, and get out of innings. He doesn't think he threw too many strikes tonight where it was the reason for all the hits.

"I was locating pretty well tonight," Lackey said. "I made a couple mistakes on the homers, but other than that I'll take my chances."

After allowing just three home runs from April 23-June 18, Lackey has allowed five in his last three starts. John Farrell doesn't seem concerned with that number though, saying it's mostly due to Lackey's approach.

"I think overall he had very good stuff," Farrell said. "A lot of swing and miss to his fastball and breaking ball alike. High number of strikes runs his pitch count up there. And because he does throw so many strikes, he's around the plate. I think the past three or four starts the long ball has been mixed in a little bit more. He goes into the 6th inning with a lead, they bunch some hits together and unfortunately we come away on the downside."