By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- John Lackey left Friday's game after three innings when he was struck on the left calf on a hard comebacker by Tampa Bay catcher John Jaso.
But Lackey might have been close to leaving anyway, having been lit up for five runs while needing 69 pitches to record the game's first nine outs.
"I could keep going back out there,'' said Lackey after the Sox lost to Tampa, 7-2. "But obviously I wasn't pitching very well and I wasn't helping out much, anyway.''
Lackey mislocated on a fastball down-and-in to Jaso in the second and Jaso drilled it for a three-run homer. In the third, he retired the first two hitters he faced, then allowed the next five hitters to reach, accounting for two more runs.
"I don't know, man . . . just didn't work out,'' said Lackey, who dropped to 12-12 while his ERA soared to 6.30.
Lackey has now lost three straight starts and has given up 15 runs in those three outings. At a time of year when the Sox need quality starts, Lackey seems incapable of providing them.
"I'm going to keep grinding and see what happens,'' said Lackey. "It's not fun. There is definitely some frustration. I kind of want to go bang my head against a wall. I just have to keep working at it. I'm doing everything I can, it's just not working out.''
It's unclear whether the calf contusion is going to cost him any time before his next start. Tentatively, the Sox had him slated to start Wednesday against Toronto at Fenway.
"The ball caught all flesh,'' said Terry Francona, "so that, in the big scheme of things, is good. It's sore. He got hit hard. They've got compression and ice on it and everything, so hopefully, he'll show up Saturday and it will subside enough so that he can make his next start. We'll keep an eye on him.''