Lackey is primed to be a real rock in this rotation and with every game he pitches more players and coaches gush about how he works fast and throws strikes.
For his part, Lackey said his transition from the Angels to the Sox has gone better than he had hoped and after two straight spring trainings which ended with injuries, he is overjoyed with the way this one has gone.
"It's been easier than I thought it was gonna be," Lackey said. "The guys have been very fun to play with and it's a cool clubhouse."
Lackey said he has thrown a little less this spring in order to stay fresh and the plan has worked. He threw an extra 15 pitches or so in the bullpen after working six innings just to get his pitch count up to 90.
A few other notes:
– Pedroia, who joked that Lackey would have signed for the league minimum in order to not have to face the Sox' second baseman, had no pain or issues with his left wrist.
"I hit the ground a few times and dove so I was fine. Swinging I was fine…I saw a lot [of pitches] all day so that was good."
– Terry Francona said Alan Embree, who was charged with three runs in 2/3 inning, looked like he should after such a long time off. Embree will pitch Monday in a minor league game along with Manny Delcarmen, whose lack of progress this spring was noted by Francona.
"That's still a work in progress," Francona said of Delcarmen, whose velocity has been down all month. "Still watch him in warmups and he's not driving the ball downhill yet. We gotta stay on that."
– Jeremy Hermida's right hamstring does not appear to be a major injury. He was removed for precautionary reasons after feeling a little something in the muscle while running the bases in the second inning.
Final, Orioles 6-1: The Sox' winning streak is snapped at three, but they get another strong outing from John Lackey and now have their horses lined up to end spring on a good note.
For the second straight day we see some ugly defense. Boston, which has five errors in two games, will want to tighten that up or the fans at Fenway will remind them every day what the offseason overhaul was supposed to be all about.
The Sox return to Fort Myers on Sunday to host Minnesota in a Mayor's Cup meeting. We'll be following along for you right here.
End 8th, Orioles 6-0: While we were away Alan Embree and Joe Nelson let the O's open things up. Justin Turner had a bases-clearing double off Nelson, one of 12 hits for Baltimore.
A few quick notes from the clubhouse.
John Lackey, as expected, said he is just about ready to go and talked at length about getting the Yankees in game No. 3 of the season. We will have more on Lackey's solid spring in another piece later on.
Also, Dustin Pedroia was enjoying a burrito and pleased to have landed on his left wrist a few times just to test it out. He had no pain whatsoever. More quotes from him later on as well.
3:04 p.m.: Off to talk to John Lackey.
Mid 8th, Orioles 2-0: Jacoby Ellsbury's single with one out in the fifth inning represents the last hit for the Red Sox.
They go 1-2-3 for the third straight time in the eighth and have now been set down 11 straight.
Alan Embree is on for his Grapefruit League debut.
End 7th, Orioles 2-0: Daniel Bard has to work a bit but he gets out of the seventh OK.
After allowing an infield hit that put runners on the corners with two outs, he throws three straight balls to Felix Pie before coming back to strike him out looking.
2:45 p.m.: Daniel Bard has relieved Manny Delcarmen, but not before we get a piece of comedy.
Delcarmen induced a chopper to third off the bat of Justin Turner, and Turner took about four steps before falling flat on his face.
Perhaps distracted by the display, Delcarmen started for the dugout even though there were only two outs. No worries, Terry Francona was coming out to get him anyway.
Mid 7th, Orioles 2-0: We are at the 7th-inning stretch in roughly 93 minutes. That's the way it should be.
Eight straight Red Sox hitters have been retired.
Manny Delcarmen is on in relief of John Lackey.
The final line for Lackey:
6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
He has not walked a batter in 15 Grapefruit League innings.
End 6th, Orioles 2-0: John Lackey gets a few pats on the back as he leaves this one so we may be done with him.
Although no errors were committed, the two runs in the fifth were not entirely his fault. He was strong, throwing heavy stuff low in the zone and getting a good amount of ground balls.
Mid 6th, Orioles 2-0: Former Red Sox pitcher Cla Meredith comes on and gets Boston in order in the fifth.
John Lackey is back out there for a sixth inning of work for the Sox.
End 5th, Orioles 2-0: Marco Scutaro's glove is factoring into everything, both good and bad. He helped dig John Lackey a hole with some more misplays in the fifth and then got him out with an amazing play.
Scutaro, who has two errors in two games, bobbled an infield hit early in the frame and then had trouble getting a ball out of his glove on a potential double play. The Sox got just one on that play, but then got two when Scutaro went up the middle and from his behind flipped a ball with his glove to Dustin Pedroia to start a 6-4-3 twin killing.
It was a marvelous act that helped limit a potentially ugly inning to two runs.
Mid 5th, 0-0: The Sox have stranded five men in the last two innings as David Hernandez keeps squirming out of trouble.
A walk and a hit put two on with one out. Both runners moved up 90 feet when Dustin Pedroia flew to the track in right. Victor Martinez tapped one to short to end it.
End 4th, 0-0: You'll see this one on the highlight reel. I guarantee it. The last out of the fourth inning was unlike any I have seen.
Miguel Tejada tapped one up the first-base line, where Victor Martinez grabbed it and attempted to tag Tejada as he ran by.
Tejada went way out of the base line to avoid the tag but was still called safe by the umpire. Then, as Tejada walked off the bag in fair territory, an alert Dustin Pedroia called for the ball and put the tag on him. He was called out.
It goes down as the Orioles' second hit of the game, but also their first real bonehead play. Unreal.
By the way, Jeremy Hermida left the game with what the team is calling right hamstring tightness.
Mid 4th, 0-0: David Hernandez loads the bases on two singles and a walk, then proceeds to strike out three straight Red Sox hitters.
Mitch Dening, batting for Jeremy Hermida, was the first victim. Marco Scutaro and Josh Reddick also went down.
1:52 p.m.: My apologies for a mistake earlier. Jeremy Hermida, not Jacoby Ellsbury, has left the game in the third. We had a couple of different names flying around and Ellsbury had just legged out a grounder so it was thought to be him.
Again, Hermida out, Mitch Dening in. Ellsbury is fine. Sorry for the error.
End 3rd 0-0: Two bad notes to pass on, one possibly on the injury front, another on the ineptitude front.
Jeremy Hermida was lifted in the third, replaced by Mitch Dening.
We will get you an update when we have one.
Also, a day after committing three errors, the Sox have two in the third and for the second straight day shortstop Marco Scutaro is one of the culprits. John Lackey works around the mess and strands a runner at third. A diving stop by Victor Martinez at first certainly helped.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: A Jacoby Ellsbury chopper is always a bit interesting, just to see him motor down the line. This time he is nipped by a half-step by third baseman Miguel Tejada.
Tug Hulett and Dusty Brown had struck out in advance of Ellsbury's grounder.
End 2nd, 0-0: It was a diving stop to his left that caused Dustin Pedroia to hurt his left wrist Tuesday. He seemingly has no issues after making another dive to rob catcher Matt Wieters of a hit in the second.
It was part of another quick inning for John Lackey, who did allow a two-out single to Garrett Atkins but otherwise flew through the frame.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Terry Francona has been asked multiple times about how he will get guys like Jeremy Hermida at-bats.
Francona is fond of saying that things have a way of working themselves out in such situations, but as long as Hermida looks like this some drastic measures might need to be taken.
Hermida continues a red-hot spring with an opposite-field liner for a single. He is now up to .447 (17-for-38) and just picks apart righties.
Alas, Hermida is left there after a pair of fly outs.
End 1st, 0-0: The John Lackey Express keeps on chugging along.
The big righty fans Adam Jones and Nick Markakis to finish the first and extend his scoreless streak this spring to 10 innings.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Sox go quietly in the first inning against David Hernandez. Dustin Pedroia fouled off a couple of pitches before he struck out swinging.
Center fielder Adam Jones tracked down a Jacoby Ellsbury drive but seemed to battle the sun, and third baseman Miguel Tejada also had some issues with the big bright star on a pop out by Victor Martinez.
Us reporters are not the only ones having problems with the cloudless sky today (see below).
12:55 p.m.: There certainly seemed to be more red than orange in the crowd at Ed Smith Stadium, and it quickly became apparent just how Boston-heavy this crowd is during opening introductions.
The Sox received ovations easily three times as loud as those given to the O's. Just like Camden.
12:42 p.m.: I just wanted to give you a glimpse of what it's like for the media during spring training as we often contend with old press boxes and odd conditions.
The sun that is splashed across the front row of the press box at Ed Smith stadium just caused most of the Boston media to head to an alternative room that has a bit more shade.
Yours truly is currently kitty-cornered into the one portion of the front row which offers a small degree of shade and I'm praying the sun moves along at a good rate (something tells me it'll go as fast as it wants). Anyway, the right side of the field is not visible to me. Let's hope most of the action is in left.
It's not a sob story, just a funny scene up here as people scramble for some way to cope with a hot sun.
Dustin Pedroia was just seen signing autographs aside the Sox dugout. Good to see him back in a uniform.
11:35 a.m: Greetings from Ed Smith Stadium in sunny Sarasota. And when I say sunny, I mean sunny. The rays are directly on the front row of the press box and making it extremely difficult to even see the computer screen. After giving you the lineups I'm back to the car for some shades and sunscreen.
For now, here are the lineups:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Tug Hulett, DH
Dusty Brown, C
Felix Pie, LF
Adam Jones, CF
Nick Markakis, RF
Matt Wieters, C
Miguel Tejada, 3B
Garrett Atkins, 1B
Ty Wigginton, DH
Justin Turner, 2B
Cesar Izturis, SS
8 a.m.: John Lackey will face major league hitters for the first time since St. Patrick's Day when he toes the slab in Sarasota against the Baltimore Orioles.
The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and we will carry you through the action right here.
Lackey, who has yet to allow a run in nine Grapefruit League innings, tossed four scoreless frames in a 4-2 loss to the Mets on March 17. He worked four more at the minor league complex Monday.
The Sox, winners of three straight, expect to have second baseman Dustin Pedroia back for the first time since he hurt his left wrist Tuesday in Minnesota. Mike Lowell will not be in uniform after fouling a ball off his left leg Friday.
Reliever Alan Embree is set to make his spring training debut for Boston.
The Orioles will start David Hernandez opposite Lackey.