John Lackey put in another great performance for the Boston Red Sox on
Tuesday evening as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Lackey pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season with a total of 103 pitches - giving up one run and tallying up six strikeouts.
This impressive performance comes off the back of a 12 strikeout night, against the Colorado Rockies on June 26, a strikeout total which equalled Lackey’s personal best.
Lackey looks to be getting back to his best after missing the entire 2012 season with an elbow injury. He had looked indifferent early in the 2013 season and appeared sporadic at times, but his last two performances have been a breath of fresh air for the Red Sox rotation.
This will come as reassuring news for Red Sox fans as the Boston bullpen has been struggling for form of late. This season's star pitcher for the Red Sox has been Clay Buchholz, who holds a very impressive 1.71 ERA and has nine wins without a loss on the season.
Buchholz, however, has been struggling with a shoulder injury that has been recurring as he tries to throw and it is unknown when he will return to the rotation.
John Lester has also been struggling on the mound for the Red Sox in recent games. The left-hander had started the season well, holding an impressive 2.58 ERA on May 19.
Since then, however, Lester has suffered a poor stretch of form. Over the month of June, Lester had an ERA of 8.44, one of the worst in baseball and a statistic that is simply not good enough for a Red Sox starting pitcher.
These issues then make the recent form of John Lackey all the more welcome for Red Sox fans. The Red Sox hold a 3.5 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles at the top of the American League east, but the fans know that their lead could slip away easily if the pitching situation does not improve.
Lackey has removed some of the pressure of Red Sox starters, but if they want to make a serious run late into the playoffs, they will need Buchholz, Lester and Lackey all to be on top form.
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