Red Sox - 023 100 102 - 9 9 2 Rays - 300 010 001 - 5 13 2After Lackey's hard-luck first inning, extended by some poor fielding by Marco Scutaro, the big-chinned, long-suffering righty held the line (5.2-10-4-1-7, 107). He never had a 1-2-3 inning -- in fact, Tampa got a runner to second base in every one of his innings -- but he kept the Rays off the board while Shields did his own Lackey impersonation (6-6-6-3-8, 106).
After barely fouling off a 3-2 pitch in the second, Josh Reddick hit a two-run home run (Bernie Carbo-style). Boston scored three times in the third, taking a 5-2 lead, before Shields recorded an out, as Adrian Gonzalez walked, Kevin Youkilis singled, and David Ortiz and J.D. Drew both doubled.
Shields threw 71 pitches in the first three innings, and only 35 over the next three frames.
Jacoby Ellsbury homered on Shields's first pitch in the fourth. Dustin Pedroia homered off Jose Cruz in the seventh, extending his on-base streak to 26 games. For both LBJ and FY, it was their 13th homers of the year.
John Lackey / James Shields
In his last four starts, Lackey has gone from shitty to good to very shitty to very good. That's not a promising trend when thinking about today's start, but fortunately, it has zero predictive value. Still, Lackey may follow along and go for "very, very shitty".
Since Shields's June 14 shutout over the Red Sox -- the first of three consecutive complete games -- he has a 1.31 ERA in six starts. Last Sunday, he allowed one unearned run to the Yankees in eight innings.
Adrian Gonzalez is having a super-fantastic year at the plate, but Jose Bautista is still blowing him out of the water. Evil Bert has a 14-point edge on Joey Bats in average (.350 vs .336), but he trails Bautista by 60 points in OBP (.410 vs .470) and 116 points in slugging (.585 vs .701). Bautista is the only MLB batter with an OPS over 1.001, and he's at 1.171!
Dustin Pedroia has a 13-game hitting streak and has reached base safely (hit or walk) in 25 straight games. ... The Mariners have an MLB-worst team batting average of .222. ... Houston's Jeff Karstens shut out the Astros last night (9-5-0-0-2) on only 83 pitches.
AL East: Yankees/Blue Jays at 1 PM.