How good was John Lackey for the Red Sox Wednesday? Well . . .
• Lackey allowed two runs and struck out 12, matching his career best. Not only didn’t he walk a batter, he went to a three-ball count only three times.
• The last Red Sox pitcher to strike out 12 batters without a walk was Pedro Martinez in 2003. Not since Curt Schilling in 2004 had a Sox pitcher struck out a dozen at Fenway.
• Outside of Josh Rutledge, Lackey fanned every Rockies hitter at least once.
• He commanded a fastball that was consistently 92-94 miles per hour and touched 95. When needed, Lackey froze hitters with a slider. “He was outstanding,” John Farrell said.
• Lackey needed only 98 pitches to complete his seven innings and 73 of those were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 29 hitters he faced.
Lackey waved off all the impressive statistics that came out of his 133d career win.
“All the little numbers, I’m kind of past all that in my career,” he said. “I just want to win, man. I’m here to try to win a ring. All the little numbers that they like to talk about, I’m not really all into.”
The velocity was eye-catching and hinted at what could be further improvement for Lackey as he moves further away from the elbow surgery that caused him to miss all of last season.
“Been feeling pretty good,” he said. “Feel like I’m still getting stronger. It’s been a gradual process, a lot of work. It’s still building. I’m pretty excited about that, really. Honestly, my second halves of my career have usually been better than the first.”
Lackey is 5-5 on the season but 4-1 in his last eight starts with an earned run average of 2.49. That has dropped his season ERA to 2.99.
The Red Sox, 47-33 with the season one game away from the midway point, open a four-game series against Toronto on Thursday night. The Blue Jays have won 12 of their last 14 games and recovered from a slow start.