John Lackey: “I don’t know what the hell happened”

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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.

It looks like Bryce Harper cheated in the Home Run Derby

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I just saw Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs refer to this as “BryceGhazi” and we’re not gonna top that, so we shouldn’t even try.

The controversy: Bryce Harper, in defeating Kyle Schwarber in the Home Run Derby last night, didn’t follow the rules. Or else his dad, who was pitching to him didn’t. The rule in question is that the pitcher has to wait for the last hit ball to land before delivering the next one. Given that the Derby is a timed event, such a thing matters, of course, because the faster you get pitches the faster you can hit them out of the park. At least if you don’t get too tired first.

Harper’s dad was a bit quick with the final three pitches in the final round, allowing Harper to get to 18, tying Kyle Schwarber before winning it outright with his 30 seconds bonus time. Watch as Harper waves for his dad to deliver the pitch while the last ball is still flying:

I’m not gonna argue that he didn’t do it. I will say, however, that no one should really care. Mostly because it’s the Home Run Derby and it doesn’t matter a bit. Getting mad about this is a half-step removed from getting mad that Blackjack Mulligan used a foreign object to gouge Pedro Morales’ eyes during a house show in 1976. Yes, it’s true, but c’mon, we’re entertaining people here.

I have not seen any suggestion that Kyle Schwarber is upset, but if he later says he is I’ll simultaneously understand yet still roll my eyes. I doubt MLB will do anything here or issue a statement of any kind. If it does, I’ll roll my eyes harder. Because, I repeat: It’s the Home Run Derby.