Red Sox fans certainly weren’t shocked last night when John Lackey couldn’t get through five innings with 11 runs of support, but Lackey himself seemed plenty surprised:
I can’t explain it, man. That’s the best I’ve felt in the bullpen warming up all year. I don’t know what the hell happened. The first inning, I was definitely missing some locations, probably overthrowing it a little bit because I felt pretty good. After that, I mean, you’re going to have to go back and look at some of those pitches and look at what happened. Don’t just look at the line score.
I’m sure Lackey is incredibly frustrated about his season, but for a guy with a 6.49 ERA to say “don’t just look at the line score” after his 27th start of the year and suggest he was “overthrowing it a little bit because I felt pretty good” is tough to get behind, especially considering he stared down Terry Francona when the manager mercifully yanked him from the game while the Red Sox still had a lead.
Yesterday was the sixth time he’s failed to make it out of the fifth inning and the seventh time he’s allowed six or more runs, so how Lackey felt warming up in the bullpen probably doesn’t mean much at this point.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.