Found October 16, 2013 on Boston's Bettah:
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Which Boston Red Sox person is most happy this morning? John Lackey, John Farrell, or Johnny Red Sox fan? First is John Lackey who finally put together the sort of start that was envisioned when the Boston Red Sox signed him two seasons ago. His regular seasons numbers had always been good, but it was his postseason starts, including a masterful 2009 ALDS performance against the Red Sox, that ultimately had the Red Sox salivating. They gave him a big contract in 2010, and in return he gave them a pitiful 2011 season, one in which he came off as an angry asshole of a player that did not care. When it was announced that he would have Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2012, it was seen as a blessing to Red Sox fans who were rid of John Lackey. Nobody thought that perhaps that was the reason he pitched poorly in 2011 in addition to off the field reports that his wife was battling breast cancer. Nope, Lackey was an asshole who did not care about winning and was a cancer in a locker room, a locker room which always stuck up for him and fought for him. John Lackey is too competitive a person to let his career end there. He rehabbed hard, lost weight and came back in 2013 stronger than ever. During his first start in Toronto, he tore a bicep muscle, but he came back again and was the Red Sox most consistent pitcher in 2013. His competitiveness was on full display last night as he fought his way out of a tough first inning to get out of it unscathed. He followed it up with a 4 hit, 6.2 inning performance in which he struck out four batters in a row and finished with 8 strikeouts total. This was not a performance that could be chalked up to “luck” via a defense or plenty of well hit balls that simply were turned into outs. Last night was pure pitching bliss. Everything Lackey threw was working. In fact, when Lackey was pulled with two outs in the seventh, John Farrell was suddenly on the spot. The bravest man in Detroit to pull the fiery demeanor of Lackey from the game, Farrell immediately came under fire from armchair and computer managers everywhere. It was most apparent on Twitter, where fans could barely believe the decisions that Farrell was making. With nearly unhittable closer Koji Uehara ready for a five-out save in the eighth inning and the Tigers knocking on the door, Farrell let Junichi Tazawa pitch to probable league MVP Miguel Cabrera with runners on the corners and one out. Tazawa has been good this season, but not great, and considering the magnitude of the situation, it appeared on the surface that Farrell was making a gigantic season altering mistake. Tazawa reared back, threw four of the fastest outside fastballs he has ever thrown in his life, and struck out Miguel Cabrera. Three pitches later, and a change to Uehara, and the Red Sox were out of the eighth inning jam having safely navigated the heart of the Tigers’ order. It was another example of why John Farrell is the manager and why no team has decided to make social media a Major League Baseball manager. After the eighth inning, the three final outs seemed all but assured, especially considering how well Uehara’s splitter was moving. When the final out was made and the high-fives were had, Red Sox fans could only be happy with how the series has turned in the last 11 innings. The Red Sox were as good as dead Sunday night around 10:30. An Alex Avila homerun had made the score a five run deficit, and considering that the Red Sox could not even hit the Detroit pitching at home, the series looked over. It is so difficult to come back from 0-2 down in a series, especially when taking into account that the next three games would all be in Detroit. Yet one bases loaded situation in the eighth inning and one swing of the bat from long-time hero David Ortiz changed the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox. When they tied the game in the eighth inning, it felt certain the Red Sox would win the game, making game three a humongous game for the future of the series. In a classic pitchers duel, the Red Sox beat Justin Verlander, the ace of the Detroit Tigers staff and head into game four in the proverbial driver’s seat. Another win in Detroit, and worst case scenario gives the Red Sox a chance to have two games to win one at home back in Fenway Park. For a series that was all but over late Sunday evening before the old magic took hold, Red Sox fans have to be more than happy right now.
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