As John Lackey continued to eat up Twins batters and spit them out this afternoon, I made a somewhat rhetorical comment on Twitter. Basically, I asked what happened to mediocre, overpaid John Lackey. The 2013 incarnation of Lackey has looked significantly sharper than I ever remember him looking, even in his "heyday" with the Angels.
@dwade I prefer mediocre, overpaid John Lackey.— Jesse Lund (@TwinkieTown) May 19, 2013
Dan was right, of course. If you feel better, you perform better under most circumstances. Lackey is making the most of his second life.
None of which excuses Boston from signing him to a five-year, $82.5 million dollar contract. But wow did he destroy the Twins today. In six innings he allowed just one hit - Trevor Plouffe's double into the left-center field gap leading off the top of the fifth. After Oswaldo Arcia was "hit by a pitch", a throwing error from Pedro Ciriaco allowed Plouffe to score. It was all Minnesota would get.
Pedro Hernandez didn't really give his team a chance, either. Even his outs were hit hard. He came out of the game with just one out in the fifth inning, down 3-0 with the bases loaded. He'd given up nine hits, including a home run to Will Middlebrooks. Josh Roenicke relieved him and actually got the Twins out of the inning without further damage, getting Middlebrooks to pop up and inducing a soft comebacker from Jarod Saltalamacchia.
The Twins managed to load the bases in the eighth, but Joe Mauer struck out to end the inning. Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe singled to lead off the ninth inning for a glimmer of hope, but once again they were turned away.
- Being unable to close the deal was the story for the Minnesota offense all weekend, who were just 7-for-28 (.250) with runners in scoring position.
- Roenicke has been getting a lot of credit for his performance this season, and on the whole he's certainly pulled his weight. Prior to this afternoon's big performance, though, he'd allowed runs in four of his previous five appearances: 7 runs, 6.2 innings, 9 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts. Hopefully it was just a bad stretch and he can get even out.
- Koji Uehara has owned the Twins in these last two series: 3 appearances, 3 innings, 8 strikeouts. Domination. When he struck out Josh Willingham today, the ball was nearly in the catcher's mitt by the time Hammer's bat was into the zone.
- Mauer's 15-game hitting streak came to an end today. In those 15 games he batted .443/.528/.639.
- Joe also struck out three times today, giving him 39 strikeouts on the season in 38 games played, which is entirely un-Mauer like. He's also walked 21 times, which is fine, but that ratio is skewed way off the charts in terms of his career averages. Is he trying to get more power behind his swing and, at times, granting an increased chance of a swing-and-miss in exchange for more bases? It's just a theory, and I can't say for certain, but after roughly 25% of the season Mauer is on pace for about 68 doubles. Just 8 homers, but 68 doubles.
- The rain delay lasted hours. Too bad it didn't come earlier. Lackey was sick.
- Finally: earlier, I mentioned Ciriaco's throwing error that allowed the Twins to get on the board. As he took the relay from Dustin Pedroia, Ciriano tried to make a throw to first base in order to complete the double play. Instead, the ball hit Chris Parmelee. In a very special place. Thanks to Bryz for the gif.