John Lackey ran into some third-inning trouble and wasn’t exactly overpowering, but the right-hander once again took another step forward in his fourth start of the spring on Sunday. Lackey allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out two while throwing 66 pitches in 3 2/3 innings. With the outing, the 34-year-old has now twirled 9 2/3 innings this spring, and he’s allowed six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out four. Those numbers aren’t exactly ace-like, but it’s hard to complain when the pitcher in question has endured his fair share of struggles in recent years and is coming off a missed season because of Tommy John surgery. It’s even harder to complain when you factor in the gradual progress that Lackey has seemed to make in each of his starts. Lackey’s first start was all about clearing the mental hurdle of returning the mound. He admitted after that two-inning outing that he was simply trying to get the ball over the plate, and the idea of mixing up his pitches was far from his mind. Four starts later, the more intricate details are beginning to seep into Lackey’s approach, and the result has been a rather impressive arsenal, all things considered. Lackey worked both sides of the plate well on Sunday, and his offspeed stuff was as good as it’s been all spring. He did get touched up a bit in the second inning as a result of giving up three straight singles and a walk, but even in the process, he didn’t look all that bad. One hit was a ground ball up the middle that just trickled past the infield, and another was a ground ball into the hole between shortstop and third base that Pedro Ciriaco made a play on but couldn’t turn into an out.
Read more at: http://nesn.com/2013/03/john-lackey-still-working-out-kinks-but-right-handers-stuff-improving-as-opening-day-inches-closer/
John Lackey Still Working Out Kinks, But Right-Hander’s Stuff Improving As Opening Day Inches Closer
NESN | Mar 11