Wet and wild: Lackey can't handle Padres


Wet and wild: Lackey can't handle Padres

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; John Lackey wouldnt come out and say it himself. Herealizesit would sound like he was making excuses.

But after a 38-minute rain delay with two outs in the top ofthe third inning, Lackey was all over the place as he allowed four runs in the top of the fourth.

There were four rain delays at a soaked Fenway Park oon Wednesdayafternoon, totaling 2 hours and 24 minutes. Lackey was caught up in the seconddelay, and seemed to lose something when he hit a soggy mound in the fourth.

He went back out after the rain delay, and it just lookedlike he lost his feel, said manager Terry Francona after Bostons 5-1loss to the San Diego Padres in a game shortened to 7 12 innings because of the rain. I dont think the conditionswere very good for either pitcher. But he just lost his command and it cost ussome runs.

Obviously he didnt have a real good feel. You could tell.He hit a lefty with a breaking ball. He was scattering some pitches.

Lackey loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Hewalked Orlando Hudson, hit Anthony Rizzo, and then gave up a bunt single toCameron Maybin. After striking out Nick Hundley, Lackey walked in a run andthen hit Jason Bartlett with a pitch high in the shoulder, which scored anotherrun, giving the Padres a 3-0 lead.

It didnt get any better from there, as Lackey then threw awild pitch high and outside that scored San Diegos fourth run. He followedthat up by allowing an RBI single to Chase Headley, making it 5-0 and endinghis day.

Still, Lackey didnt come out using the conditions as anexcuse several hours later. But he did hint that they affected him.

I dont think Ive ever hit anybody with the bases loadedbefore, said Lackey during a brief, contentious postgame press conference.

When later asked about his grip on the ball being a possibleissue, Lackey said, I dont know. You guys are going to write what you want towrite. Whatever.

It will be written that Lackey lost the game during a fourthinning which saw him as wild as a pitcher can be.

But it will also be written that Lackey allowed a leadoffhome run to Will Venable in the top of the first, which gave the Padres anearly 1-0 lead.

After that, and before the delay, Lackey seemed to settle down.

He got ahead right away and then left a cutter over theplate to Venable, and then was throwing strikes, said Francona. I thoughthe was throwing the ball very well actually.

And while Lackey wouldnt come out and openly admit that theweather played a role in his sixth loss of the season, others made sure theydid for him.

I thought he threw the ball well, other than the one pitchhe made to Venable, said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. He was throwing theball well.

It definitely was wet and it was obvious that you lose yourfeel. He had a fastball that shot away from him, lost some changeups. Couldntquite figure out what was the best pitch to get him in the zone in thatsituation.

It was obvious in that inning, it was sloppy out there,added Varitek. It was even hard for me throwing balls back to the mound. Itwas that entire game. Thats a tough one for him to have to wear, because hehas been throwing the ball well.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.