After a strong performance in his home state of Texas six days ago, John Lackey couldn’t quite put things together on Saturday in his start against the Detroit Tigers.
It wasn’t his worst start of the year – that distinction belongs to his April 12th outing where he let up four home runs to the Yankees – but it was much different than the Lackey we saw over the past four starts, where he went 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA with 29 strikeouts and only four walks.
Lackey got into a jam in the top of the second, as singles by Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos sandwiched a walk to Austin Jackson that loaded the bases with no outs. Alex Avila hit a fielder’s choice that scored Martinez, followed by a strikeout to Andrew Romine and a fly out by Rajai Davis to get Lackey out of the inning allowing just the one run.
The Tigers doubled their lead in the top of the third, as Miguel Cabrera hit a two-out slicing home run around the Pesky Pole in right field. Lackey shook it off and got Victor Martinez to ground out to first to end the inning with the Red Sox down 2-0.
Lackey’s final full inning, the fifth, saw the Tigers add to their lead with one out when Ian Kinsler doubled to right, Torii Hunter doubled to left to bring in Kinsler, and Cabrera drove in Hunter to make it 4-0.
He was pulled in the sixth with one out after Rajai Davis doubled to score Alex Avila that gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead. Edward Mujica came into the game, threw widely to second on a pickoff attempt that let David take third, and Davis scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler, closing the book on Lackey.
Lackey’s final line was 5.1 innings pitched, allowing six runs, five of them earned, on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Coming into the game, Lackey was 5-2 in eight starts on the year with an ERA of 3.57, and had gotten through the seventh inning in three of his last four outings. His next turn in the order is scheduled for Friday, May 23 in Tampa Bay.