John Lackey Struggles Mightily as Red Sox Drop Another

John Lackey Struggles Mightily as Red Sox Drop Another Postgame, Blue Jays 9-5: The Sox were clearly not pleased with home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg following Saturday's loss. John Lackey said he was getting "a little help" with his command issues, a jab at Kellogg, who ejected both Terry Francona and Mike Cameron.

Regardless of the strike zone and its effects on Boston, the team has to regroup and must do so behind Daisuke Matsuzaka on Sunday.

Matsuzaka remains a bit of a mystery start to start, but he did dominate the Blue Jays in his only prior start against them this year. We will see if Dice-K can give the Sox a good send-off into the All-Star break. First pitch is 1:07 p.m.

Final, Blue Jays 9-5: As nice as Friday's 14-3 win felt, this one is equally as painful. It is the Red Sox' fifth loss in six games and sends them into their first-half finale Sunday afternoon on a sour note.

Boston held a 5-3 lead in the middle innings but John Lackey was not up to the task in this one. He gave up seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings, walking a season-high six.

Throw in the ejections of Terry Francona and Mike Cameron and a total of 12 men left on base and you have a pretty frustrating afternoon for the Sox.

We'll be back shortly to finish you off.

End 8th, Blue Jays 9-5: Ramon Ramirez allows an insurance run when Jose Bautista hammers his 24th home run of the season into the second deck in left. It is the 39th homer given up by Boston relievers this year, tops in the majors.

Mid 8th, Blue Jays 8-5: Kevin Gregg needed just three pitches to get the last out of the eighth. He will face Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew and Darnell McDonald in the ninth.

4:22 p.m.: The Blue Jays are going to closer Kevin Gregg with two outs in the eighth after Mark Rzepczynski gets David Ortiz looking. Four Toronto relievers have combined for eight strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

End 7th, Blue Jays 8-5: Of all the replacement outfielders the Red Sox have used, Daniel Nava may be the most impressive in left field. He has made almost every play possible and even a few of the spectacular variety. Nava just threw out Edwin Encarnacion trying to stretch a single into a double.

The play helps Ramon Ramirez get the last two outs of the seventh.

4:08 p.m.: DeMarlo Hale is out to make the pitching change after Dustin Richardson gets the first out in the bottom of the seventh. Hope you guys didn't have early dinner plans — this one is over three hours old already.

Mid 7th, Blue Jays 8-5: We've really reached the dog days of summer, folks. There are some angry dudes down there in the hot sun. After the ejections of Terry Francona and Mike Cameron, Bill Hall is struck by a pitch from Jason Frasor, which was most certainly not intentional but caused a bit of a ruckus nonetheless.

Hall is stranded when Frasor strikes out Eric Patterson. It is the sixth strikeout in three innings for the Toronto bullpen.

3:56 p.m.: Terry Francona gave 'em a show at the Rogers Centre. Defending Mike Cameron, who was ejected arguing a called third strike, Francona gets tossed himself and then gets his money's worth. At one point Francona "ejected" home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg.

This has been building up all game, with both sides upset with Kellogg. J.D. Drew had struck out moments earlier and barked at Kellogg himself.

End 6th, Blue Jays 8-5: Terry Francona played a little matchup ball by bringing in lefty Dustin Richardson to face Adam Lind. It was a 91 mph fastball that Richardson grooved and Lind smacked over the wall in left for his 12th of the year.

3:44 p.m.: Scott Atchison does the job again by getting all three men he faces. Dustin Richardson is coming on with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Mid 6th, Blue Jays 7-5: Two more left in scoring position for the Sox in the sixth. They've stranded nine so far.

3:33 p.m.: You cannot blame Cito Gaston for voicing his displeasure with a reversal of a call in the sixth. Kevin Youkilis claimed he was hit by a pitch but home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg said he was not. Somehow, after a conference with the other umpires, one of those 100 feet away or so convinced Kellogg that the pitch got Youk.

Replays are inconclusive, but how do you reverse that? Never seen that before.

Anyway, it leaves the Sox with runners at the corners and two outs. Gaston has made another pitching change.

End 5th, Blue Jays 7-5: John Lackey gives up seven runs on eight hits and six walks in just 4 2/3 innings. His ERA has risen to 4.78 and his WHIP is an unsightly 1.60. Lackey's career high in that category is 1.42, set back in 2003 in his first full season in the majors.

3:17 p.m.: This is the first time that John Lackey has walked six men in a game in nearly four years, and he paid for it. His last free pass is sprinkled in with a pair of doubles in the fifth, ending Lackey's day. He leaves trailing 7-5 after 4 2/3 innings.

Scott Atchison is on in relief.

Mid 5th, 5-5: A J.D. Drew leadoff single and stolen base is wasted as Shawn Camp proceeds to strike out the side. This Toronto bullpen will need another long effort after its starters have lasted a total of 6 1/3 innings in the series.

End 4th, 5-5: Another walk issued by John Lackey (his fifth) and another hit against Lackey for Alex Gonzalez (his eighth in 17 career at bats vs. the righty), this time a home run, allows Toronto to tie it.

Scott Atchison was up and throwing for the second time already.

End 4th, 5-5: Another walk issued by John Lackey (his fifth) and another hit against Lackey for Alex Gonzalez (his eighth in 17 career at bats vs. the righty), this time a home run, allows Toronto to tie it.

Scott Atchison was up and throwing for the second time already.

Shawn Camp has taken over on the mound for the Jays.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 5-3: Brandon Morrow finally gets through an inning without being scored upon, but he did give up a hit to David Ortiz, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, and needed eight pitches to strike out Kevin Youkilis. Morrow has thrown 102 overall.

End 3rd, Red Sox 5-3: John Lackey entered with a walk rate of 3.3 per nine innings, already the highest mark of his career. That will only go up in this one after he issues his fourth walk in the bottom of the third.

Still, this is becoming a very typical Lackey start as he has now stranded six runners and continues to get great run support.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 5-3: Let's hope that the pitch that hit Mike Cameron with one out in the top of the third got enough meat on his right forearm to prevent any sort of injury. He was in some pain after the rising fastball caught him near the wrist. After running the bases and scoring on Marco Scutaro's RBI single with two outs we will see if the swelling becomes an issue.

Cameron moved to second when Bill Hall singled (Hall is 4-for-6 in the series). After Gustavo Molina popped up, Scutaro lined his second single in as many innings to plate Boston's fifth run.

The Blue Jays' bullpen had to eat up 6 2/3 innings Friday night after starter Ricky Romero was knocked out early. Brandon Morrow has thrown 87 pitches already.

End 2nd, Red Sox 4-3: With two walks already on his stat line, John Lackey throws seven of his first eight pitches of the second inning for balls, walking speedy Fred Lewis to start it off. Things got a bit better from there.

Lackey battled back to strike out Alex Gonzalez on a 3-2 pitch. Jose Bautista popped to Kevin Youkilis in foul territory and Vernon Wells flew to center on Lackey's 49th pitch of the afternoon to end it.

Just 24 of those deliveries have resulted in strikes.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 4-3: Looks like we have a good old-fashioned slugfest on our hands. Daniel Nava now has 16 RBIs in just 23 games with the Sox after a two-run double off Brandon Morrow in the second. David Ortiz follows with a ringing run-scoring double of his own. Settle in, folks. Could be a long one.

Quick note on John Lackey. After his ugly first inning, he has an ERA of 5.88 in innings 1-4. That mark drops to 2.63 in innings 5-8, which has allowed his offense to give him so many come-from-behind wins.

Here he is having faced nine batters in his one inning of work and still holding the lead.

End 1st, Blue Jays 3-1: We mentioned in our lineup analysis that the top two hitters in Toronto's lineup (Fred Lewis, Alex Gonzalez) entered a combined 9-for-20 against John Lackey. Make that 11-for-22 after both men doubled to give the Blue Jays the tying run in an instant and set the tone for a poor first inning by Lackey.

After the Gonzalez RBI double, Lackey threw eight straight balls to load the bases. A single and an RBI groundout gave Toronto two more runs before Lackey was able to get out of a bases-loaded situation.

Lackey threw just 13 of his 28 first-inning pitches for strikes.

1:37 p.m.: Scott Atchison is already warming in the bottom of the first inning as John Lackey is struggling big time.

Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: The Sox drew seven walks in the 14-3 rout Friday and they get two in the first, including one with the bases loaded to J.D. Drew, to get an early run in this one.

The run is unearned as the inning started when third baseman Edwin Encarnacion booted a grounder by Marco Scutaro.

David Ortiz drew the first walk and Kevin Youkilis had the lone hit of the inning, a sharp single to left that loaded the bases.

One out later, Drew picked up his 42nd RBI by taking a 96 mph fastball off the plate on a 3-2 count.

Mike Cameron struck out to leave the bags full.

1:03 p.m.: We are moments away from the first pitch at the Rogers Centre, where the Sox have won seven in a row by a wide variety of scores.

During the streak in Toronto, Boston has won some squeakers (2-1, 2-0) and some slugfests (13-12, 10-9). They have also mixed in some routs, winning the remaining three by a combined score of 28-5.

Overall, the Jays have managed an average of 3.0 runs against Red Sox pitching at home over the stretch.

12:13 p.m.: This is the only Major League game until 4:10 p.m. ET, so all eyes will be on the Rogers Centre for a few hours. Certainly a good time for John Lackey to have that complete effort some have been waiting for.

Lackey has quietly been getting closer to that dominant run we hope to see. He is 5-1 with a 3.71 ERA over his last eight starts.

11:11 a.m.: Just a reminder that Saturday brings some of the Red Sox' future stars to Fenway Park for the Futures at Fenway festivities. If you have nothing to do and want to catch a great event, head down to the park. If you cannot, follow along with Dan Podheiser's live blog.

Jed Lowrie, on a rehab stint with the Lowell Spinners, is among those that may be in the lineup at the park.

10:55 a.m.: The lineups are in at the Rogers Centre. No major surprises on the Boston side of things, but it is notable that Mike Cameron is in for the third straight game (yes, with a day off mixed in there). Gustavo Molina will draw the catching duties.

Here is a look at the starting nine for both clubs:

Red Sox

Marco Scutaro, SS
Daniel Nava, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, 2B
Gustavo Molina, C

Blue Jays

Fred Lewis, LF
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Jose Molina, C

8 a.m.: The losing streak is over. Now the Red Sox can try to put some wins together before the All-Star break when they take on Toronto in a Saturday matinee.

Following a three-game sweep in Tampa Bay that was riddled with painful moments, Boston took out its frustrations in the Friday night opener at Rogers Centre, pasting the Jays, 14-3.

Jon Lester threw six strong innings and the Sox slugged four home runs, including three in the fourth inning.

The victory pulled Boston back within two games of Tampa Bay in the AL East.

John Lackey opposes Brandon Morrow on Saturday. First pitch is 1:07 p.m.

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