Lackey dominant, sinks Mariners, 7-4

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Lackey dominant, sinks Mariners, 7-4

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox pounded Felix Hernandez for five runs in the seventh inning at Fenway Park Friday night, breaking open what had been a one-run game until then, on their way to a 7-4 win. It was the Sox 15th win in 18 games, and the Mariners 13th straight loss.

John Lackey picked up the win, evening his record at 8-8 with a 6.28 ERA. He went seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits with no walks, four strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Hernandez had never before lost at Fenway. He entered the game with a record of 3-0 (1.49) in five previous starts, but took the loss, going 6 13 innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits and four walks with two strikeouts. He falls to 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA.

Leading by a run heading into the seventh, the Sox batted around in the inning, with two runs scoring on Adrian Gonzalezs single to center and another two on Kevin Youkilis single to left, aided by an error from Mariners left fielder Mike Carp.

Franklin Morales came in for the eighth, giving up a three-run homer to Carp, before Daniel Bard came in with two outs and a runner on to close the door.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey needed 22 pitches to get through the first inning, when he gave up a run on three hits. But he settled down after that to pick up the win, improving his record to 8-8 with a 6.28 ERA. Lackey went seven innings, giving up one run on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts, against the Mariners who have lost 13 straight and have not scored three or fewer run in nine of those games.

I thought he was tremendous, said manager Terry Francona. He threw strikes. Even the hits he gave up he was ahead in the count.

The Mariners scored when Ichiro Suzuki singled on Lackeys first pitch of the game, stole second on the second pitch, stole third on the third pitch, and scored on Dustin Ackleys one-out single to left. But that was all the damage the Ms could do against Lackey.

Lackey won his third consecutive start, the second time he has put together a three-start win streak this season and the first time since 2008 he has had two such streaks in a season.

Since Aug. 19, 2006, while with the Angles, he is 9-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts against the Mariners, while his teams have gone a combined 11-2 in those games.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury continues to stay white-hot, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. His solo homer leading off the third inning, his 16th of the season, gave the Sox a one-run lead until they broke through for five runs in the seventh.

He looks great, said Dustin Pedroia. Hes ready to hit. Hes driving the ball. Hes having the year like he had a few years back before he got hurt. I dont think anybodys surprised. Hes a great player.

Ellsbury, who had two homers on Wednesday in Baltimore, now has seven in July, the most hes ever hit in a month.

THE GOAT: Felix Hernandez
With the Sox holding a slim one-run lead going into the seventh, Hernandez allowed them to blow the game open with five runs. He went 6 13 innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits and four walks with two strikeouts and a home run. It was his shortest outing since pitching five innings on May 11 in Baltimore. It was his fewest strikeouts since picking up two on Aug. 1, 2009, at Texas. It was the most walks hes allowed in his last six outings, and more than he had allowed in his previous three starts.

Hernandez lost at Fenway Park for the first time in six career starts, and lost to the Sox for just the second time in his career. He has not earned a win in five starts since his last win on June 24 against the Marlins. In those games his team has given him a total of seven runs of support and no more than two in any game.

We found some holes, said Dustin Pedroia. Its not like we were lighting the place up. Hes got great stuff, and we got a couple ground balls that found some holes and we got a big hit. Thats basically it. Thats how you beat a pitcher like that. He doesnt get hit around that much because his stuff is so great. So we were fortunate to win.

THE TURNING POINT
With Lackey struggling in the first inning, giving up a first-pitch single to Ichiro Suzuki, a second-pitch stolen base, and a third-pitch stolen base, the Mariners could muster just one run in the inning. Lackey needed 22 pitches to get through the inning. Justin Smoak struck out with runners on first and third to end the inning. With a first-pitch temperature of 96 degrees, the Mariners unable to drive up Lackeys pitch count and workload, the Sox right-hander was able to regroup between innings and settle into a groove. He allowed no runs and just five hits over his next six innings.

STAT OF THE DAY: 60
The Sox now have a record of 60-37. With their 60th win coming in their 97th game, it is their fastest season to 60 wins since 1979, when they did so in 95 games. The only times the Sox have reached 60 wins at an earlier date were July 19, 1912; July 17, 1946; and July 16, 1978.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I know his ERA is high. At the end of the year itll probably be higher than we want but if he pitches like this its not going to matter. -- Terry Francona on John Lackeys 6.28 ERA

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t scream “fake news" on Tuesday,  but he might as well have.

The only problem is he seems to be forgetting his own words, and his reliever’s.

Righty Tyler Thornburg is starting his Red Sox career on the disabled list because of a shoulder impingement. 

Another Dave Dombrowski pitching acquisition, another trip to the disabled list. Ho hum.

But the reason Thornburg is hurt, Farrell said, has nothing to do with the Red Sox’ shoulder program -- the same program Farrell referenced when talking about Thornburg earlier this month.

“There’s been a lot written targeting our shoulder program here,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms are now the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

Let’s go back to March 10, when Farrell was asked in his usual pregame session with reporters about Thornburg’s status.

"He is throwing long-toss out to 120 feet today," Farrell said that day. “He’s also been going through a strength and conditioning phase, arm-wise. What we encounter with guys coming from other organizations, and whether it's Rick [Porcello], David [Price], guys that come in, and they go through our shoulder maintenance program, there's a period of adaptation they go through, and Tyler’s going through that right now. We're also going to get him on the mound and get some fundamental work with his delivery and just timing, and that's soon to come in the coming days. Right now it's long toss out to 120 feet.”

So Farrell volunteered, after Thornburg was taken out of game action, that the shoulder program appeared involved. 

Maybe that turned out not to be the case. But Farrell's the one who put this idea out there.

On March 11, Farrell was asked to elaborate about other pitchers who needed adjusting to how the Red Sox do their shoulder program.

“Rick Porcello is an example of that. Joe Kelly,” Farrell said. “And that's not to say that our program is the end-all, be-all, or the model for which everyone should be compared. That's just to say that what we do here might be a little more in-depth based on a conversation with the pitchers, that what they've experienced and what we ask them to do here. And large in part, it's with manual resistance movements on the training table. These are things that are not maybe administered elsewhere, so the body goes through some adaptation to get to that point. 

“So, in other words, a pitcher that might come in here previously, he pitched, he’s got recovery time and he goes and pitches again. There's a lot of work and exercise in between the outings that they may feel a little fatigued early on. But once they get those patterns, and that consistent work, the body adapts to it and their recovery times become much shorter. And it's one of the reasons we've had so much success keeping pitchers healthy and on the field.”

Except that Kelly has had a shoulder impingement in his time with the Red Sox, last April, and so too now does Thornburg.

In quotes that appeared in a March 12 story, Thornburg himself told the Herald’s Michael Silverman that he didn’t understand the Red Sox throwing program.

Thornburg said that after the December trade, he was sent a list of exercises from the training staff. The message he did not receive was that all of the exercises were to be performed daily.

“I kind of figured that this is a list of the exercises they incorporated, I didn’t think this is what they do all in one day,” said Thornburg. “I thought, ‘here’s a list of exercises, learn them, pick five or six of them,’ because that was pretty much what we did in Milwaukee.”

But according to Farrell, Thornburg’s current state has nothing to do with the program -- the same one Farrell himself cited when directly asked about Thornburg before.

Maybe the program was the wrong thing to point to originally. But Farrell did point to it.

"This is all still in line with the shoulder fatigue, the shoudler impingement and the subsequent inflammation that he's dealing with. That’s the best I can tell you at this point," Farrell said Tuesday. "Anytime a player, and we've had a number of players come in, when you come into a new organization, there's a period where guys adapt. Could it have been different from what he's done in the past? Sure. But to say it's the root cause, that’s a little false. That’s a lot false, and very short-sighted."

Hey, he started it.

Thornburg is not to throw for a week before a re-evaluation.

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

One White House tradition will have to wait, if it’s in fact maintained.

President Donald Trump is not going to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals this season, according to the Washington Post.

Post reporter Barry Svrugula wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the White House declined an invitation from the Nats.

POLITICO reported early Tuesday morning that Trump was in talks to throw out the first pitch and that it was also possible he could spend an inning in the MASN booth.

President William Howard Taft began the custom of U.S. presidents throwing out a first pitch on April 14, 1910, at National Stadium in D.C.

According to The Week:

“Since Taft, every president not named Jimmy Carter has thrown out at least one Opening Day first pitch. The executive guests of honor followed in Taft's hefty footsteps, throwing the first ball from the stands, until the late 1980s when Ronald Reagan sauntered onto the mound and improved upon the tradition."

The most famous presidential pitch in recent memory is George W. Bush’s toss during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Nats open their season on Monday at home in Washington D.C., in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. A Nationals Magic 8 Ball is to be given away to the first 20,000 fans.

The Red Sox happen to play the Nats in a pair of exhibitions right before the season, on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is at the Nats’ home park in D.C. Saturday’s game is to be played in Annapolis, Md., at the U.S. Naval Academy.