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Less than 13 hours after playing a marathon, rain-soaked, 13-inning affair against the Angels into the wee hours of Thursday morning, the Red Sox were set to go at it at Fenway Park against the Halos for the final time this season…and we’re only in May.
Terry Francona had to use eight pitchers in Thursday morning’s loss, including Friday’s penciled in starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, and needed a strong effort from John Lackey to help save a taxed bullpen. The need ran so deep that the Red Sox had just shipped Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler (both of whom have been terrible this season) to the disabled list and were left with few reliable relievers on hand. Hey, Lackey has never lost to the Angels, right? Lackey can give ’em six innings, right?
Wow, you couldn’t be more wrong. Not only could Lackey not get any outs in the fifth inning because he was ineffective, but he also ran his pitch count high (97!). In his 4+ innings, Lackey allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits and three walks to take his fourth loss of the season (2-4).
Francona was forced to go to Scott Atchison, just up from Triple-A Pawtucket. Atchison gave the Sox all he could (much like last year), as he gave up three runs over 3.2 innings. Fellow call-up Rich Hill tossed an inning and a third to help the Sox escape the lopsided 11-0 loss in which the Angels cranked out 18 hits in all.
The offense, for the most part, was useless against former Sox righty Joel Pineiro, who went 5.2 scoreless innings with three hits and four walks allowed. He earned his first win.
Overshadowed by Lackey’s crappy performance, David Ortiz shined through with a nice 3-3 effort to raise his season batting average to .295.
After three consecutive strong outings, Lackey reverted to the pitcher we saw to start the year. After allowing eight runs in four innings, Lackey’s ERA ballooned to 7.16.
W: Joel Pineiro (1-0)
L: John Lackey (2-4)