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Red Sox muster no support for Lackey

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 29, 2011 10:50 PM

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PHILADELPHIA — You can't blame this one on John Lackey.

He held the Phillies to two runs on eight hits over 7.2 innings tonight. But the sliding Sox managed only one run against the immortal trio of Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo.

“We’re not going to release our team. That’s the way the game goes,” manager Terry Francona said. “You don’t score at that pace all the time. You hope you win some of these games when you’re not.”

The Sox hit .320 and averaged eight runs a game during a 14-2 stretch that started on June 2. They have hit .196 in the seven games since and scored 15 runs.

The other interesting aspect of this night happened afterward. Earlier today, NESN's Peter Gammons said on WEEI that the Red Sox "have to decide" whether Lackey needs Tommy John surgery.

Theo Epstein danced around the question before the game, saying only that Lackey would be closely monitored.

Here's Lackey's take on if he needs surgery:

“You never know. I don’t know. What did it look like tonight? … [Surgery] is a possibility for everybody in here. You can throw that against the wall and see if it sticks.”

This much is indisputable: Lackey has started five games since coming off the disabled list. In four of those games he has allowed 12 earned runs on 25 hits over 27.1 innings. That's an ERA of 3.95. He has walked just five in those 27.1 innings and struck out 20.

The one lemon came against the Padres in the rain when he allowed five runs in 3.1 innings.

Lackey kept his fastball at 92 tonight and had a good, late-breaking slider. He also threw a curveball for strikes. If he can do that, he can stay in the rotation.

Heck, Lackey had an RBI double tonight. Given how his teammates have swung the bat of late, maybe he should play right field on the nights he doesn't pitch.

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