John Lackey’s first game back since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery 17 months ago had all the makings of a gem.
His command was sharp, and for four innings he was the John Lackey that was the biggest name on the 2010 free agent list after dominating for years with the Los Angeles Angels, the Lackey that posted a promising 10-5 first half mark of his first season with the Sox, before struggling to a 4-6 finish…
…and before his career hit the skids after a mediocre 12-12 finish in 2011, spiraling into a void of injury and controversy.
And then the 5th inning. Hardly a Dave Dravecky moment, but perhaps just as emotionally painful, an injury described as a “Muscle strain” in his bicep causing him to grasp his pitching arm in obvious agony.
“It felt like a pretty good cramp, almost like…all biceps, wasn’t elbow. Pretty frustrating. It was scary when it happened, for sure.’’ said Lackey after the game.
Before Lackey broke off a slider in the dirt to Jose Reyes and immediately grabbed at his bicep, He had thrown as good a game as you could expect from a 34 year old coming off Tommy John suregery, allowing just four hits and striking out seven until Toronto catcher J.P Arencibia connected on a two-run blast to left in the fourth…
…and then reliever Alfredo Aceves surrender a three run park job to Colby Rasmus in the sixth, and four Blue Jays’ pitchers combined on a two-hit gem to power their way to a 5-0 victory over the light-hitting Boston Red Sox on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto starter J.A. Happ threw 99 pitches in 5 1/3 innings of work, allowing one hit and three bases on balls while striking out six. Steve Delabar relieved Happ in the 6th inning and stuck out two Sox before giving way to Aaron Loup and Sergio Santos to close out the Blue Jays’ second win of the season.
Toronto’s offense has shown up in spurts in their two games against the Red Sox, the long ball being their most potent weapon. Boston has been surviving on small ball and solid defense, but the small ball only works if you can get on base, but that happened very little in Saturday’s matinee so the outcome was predictable.
The contest started out well enough for the visiting Sox as lead off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury laced a double to left, but a pop up to second and two strike outs ended the only real threat that Boston could mount.
As for Lackey, he’s flying back to Boston on Sunday morning to have an MRI, and the Red Sox will wait for the results before making a move to replace him in the rotation.
The two teams close out their series tomorrow afternoon in Toronto, with R.A. Dickey taking the mound for the Blue Jays and Jon Lester going for the Sox.