Final, Blue Jays 5-0: The Red Sox finally got their second hit of the game in the ninth, but it only delayed the inevitable. Sergio Santos closed the door on Boston, and the Blue Jays set up a Sunday rubber match with a 5-0 victory.
The big news, obviously, in this game was the injury sustained by John Lackey. Lackey pitched very well before going down in the fifth inning with what the team describes as a biceps strain. It’s unclear how serious Lackey’s injury is at this point, but it was an unfortunate sight, especially given how hard Lackey worked to get back to where he was.
Before Lackey exited the game, he allowed two runs on five hits while striking out eight. The right-hander consistently had the Blue Jays’ hitters guessing, and the only real mistake he made was to J.P. Arencibia, who launched a two-run shot to begin Toronto’s scoring.
The Red Sox’ offense, meanwhile, was horrendous. The Sox had just one hit until the ninth inning, and it was Jacoby Ellsbury’s double to lead off the ballgame.
The Sox and Jays will be back in action on Sunday, with Jon Lester and R.A. Dickey squaring off at Rogers Centre. The game will start up at 1:07 p.m. ET, but NESN’s coverage begins at noon ET, so be sure to tune in.
Also be sure to check back with NESN.com frequently, as we’ll keep you up to speed on all things Red Sox, including Lackey’s status.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Blue Jays 5-0: Alfredo Aceves gave up a one-out double to J.P. Arencibia, but he made sure Toronto didn’t extend its lead.
The Red Sox will need some ninth-inning magic. They’re scheduled to send up the top of the order — Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia — against Sergio Santos in the ninth.
Boston has just one hit thus far, and it was Ellsbury’s double to lead off the game. The Red Sox have only been one-hit once in the last three years.
3:31 p.m.: NESN’s Jenny Dell reports that she’s been told John Lackey’s injury is a biceps strain.
That does little to clarify how long Lackey will miss, but it’s encouraging to hear that it’s not an elbow injury. Also encouraging is that Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves reportedly told Jenny, “Don’t worry. He will be fine.”
However, Lackey’s reaction after suffering the injury is still concerning. Then again, I’m not a doctor, so what do I know?
Mid 8th, Blue Jays 5-0: Another lackluster inning for the Red Sox’ offense.
David Ross and Jackie Bradley Jr. each struck out looking, and Pedro Ciriaco grounded out as part of a 1-2-3 inning for Aaron Loup.
Bradley is now 0-for-3 in this game, and his average is down to .176 (3-for-17, five strikeouts, four walks).
End 7th, Blue Jays 5-0: Alfredo Aceves and David Ross are still trying to get on the same page, but the results were there in the seventh.
Aceves enjoyed a very quick, 1-2-3 inning, which is a welcome sight after Toronto’s three-run sixth.
Aceves got Rajai Davis to fly out to right field, and then struck out both Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
Encarnacion is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts on Friday.
Mid 7th, Blue Jays 5-0: The Red Sox again couldn’t put together any offense.
With Steve Delabar back on the hill for the Jays, Mike Napoli struck out on a 96 mph fastball. Delbar really pounded the inside part of the plate against Napoli.
Will Middlebrooks then flew out to right field, and Jonny Gomes bounced out to short.
The Red Sox still have just one hit, and it was Jacoby Ellsbury’s double to lead off the ballgame.
End 6th, Blue Jays 5-0: There’s a good chance Alfredo Aceves will be the first to take over John Lackey’s spot in the rotation — assuming Lackey misses time, which seems likely. He’ll need to pitch better if that’s the case.
Aceves issued walks to Adam Lind and Mark DeRosa before giving up an absolute bomb to Colby Rasmus.
Aceves retired the next two hitters, but the Blue Jays have opened it up a bit. This game has really taken on a strange feel in the wake of Lackey’s injury.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 2-0: The Red Sox’ offense remains dormant.
Shane Victorino walked after Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to left. That led to a pitching change, as Steve Delabar entered the game for Toronto.
Victorino attempted to steal second base in an effort to move up into scoring position for Dustin Pedroia, but he was gunned down by J.P. Arencibia, who is doing it all in this one. Arencibia’s two-run home run, of course, is the difference in the game.
Pedroia ended up striking out looking for the third out. Pedey had a few words for home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. He thought the pitch was outside, and he might have a point.
End 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: Alfredo Aceves replaced John Lackey after the injury, and he kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard.
Jose Reyes walked on the first pitch Aceves threw, and Melky Cabrera singled with two outs. Aceves escaped without any damage, though.
2:35 p.m.: Sometimes, sports just aren’t fair.
John Lackey worked so hard to get to this point after undergoing Tommy John surgery. And now, he has left the game with an arm injury that doesn’t look good at all.
Lackey struck out Emilio Bonifacio to begin the fifth inning, but disaster struck with Jose Reyes at the plate. Lackey thew a pitch around Reyes’ legs, and the right-hander immediately grabbed his arm.
Obviously, it’s too early to tell the extent of the injury or the exact location of the injury, but Lackey immediately reacted in pain. His arm was just hanging by his side, and it appeared he was grabbing his bicep area.
Replays show that Lackey actually grabbed at the same area following his previous pitch, so we shall see. In any event, it’s a very unfortunate situation.
Alfredo Aceves is coming on to pitch for Boston.
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 2-0: J.A. Happ cruised through a second straight quick inning.
David Ross flew out to right field to start the inning, and Jackie Bradley Jr. bounced one over to first base that Edwin Encarnacion handled easily.
Pedro Ciriaco, who walked in his first plate appearance, put together a good at-bat. He saw eight pitches while working the count full, but his fly ball into right field hung up long enough for Rajai Davis to track down over near the line.
Emilio Bonifacio will lead off the fifth inning for the Blue Jays, and then it’s back to the top of the order.
End 4th, Blue Jays 2-0: The Red Sox will be forced to play catch-up in this one.
Adam Lind picked up his first hit of the season, and J.P. Arencibia connected on his third home run of the year to put the Blue Jays on top 2-0.
John Lackey threw a rather flat offspeed pitch on a 2-1 count, and Arencibia made him pay by driving a towering fly ball over the fence in center field.
Lackey got Mark DeRosa to ground out back to the mound, and he picked up his seventh strikeout against Colby Rasmus. The damage was done, though.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Both starters are racking up the strikeouts.
J.A. Happ struck out the side in the fourth inning, and he — like John Lackey — now has six K’s in total.
Happ struck out Boston’s biggest power threats in the fourth. Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes all went down hacking, and now Lackey will head back to the mound looking to build on his total.
End 3rd, 0-0: John Lackey retired the first two hitters he faced in the third inning, but Jose Reyes broke up the right-hander’s streak of eight retired in a row to kick off a rally.
Lackey handled the adversity well, and we’re still scoreless.
Lackey struck out Colby Rasmus swinging, and Emilio Bonfiacio, who had a terrible defensive game on Friday, grounded out.
Things got trickier from there, though, as Reyes ripped a base hit off the glove of a leaping Mike Napoli. Rajai Davis followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second with two outs.
Lackey bounced back to strike out Melky Cabrera. He now has six strikeouts in the game.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: The Red Sox had an excellent chance to strike first in the third inning, but they were unable to capitalize.
After Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a strikeout, Pedro Ciriaco walked on four straight pitches outside the strike zone from J.A. Happ.
Ciriaco soon found himself on third base. Happ threw a pitch in the dirt, which prompted Ciriaco to take off for second. Catcher J.P. Arencibia scooped up the ball in front of the plate and fired down to second, but his throw hit Ciriaco in the helmet and ricocheted into right field.
Ciriaco was cut down at the plate moments later, though. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sharp ground ball to Edwin Encarnacion at first. Ciriaco was off on contact, so Encarnacion was able to nab him at home for the second out.
Ellsbury, who reached on the fielder’s choice, stole second base — his second steal of the game — and Shane Victorino walked, thus creating a new threat. Fortunately for the Jays, Happ managed to get Dustin Pedroia to pop out into foul territory after Pedey worked a full count.
End 2nd, 0-0: John Lackey looks sharp early on.
Lackey breezed through the second inning, picking up two more K’s in the process to bring his strikeout total to four.
Adam Lind led off by grounding back to Lackey, who had no trouble handling the out. Lackey then struck out J.P. Arencibia and Mark DeRosa swinging to complete the perfect frame.
Lackey is doing a nice job of mixing his pitches, and as a result, he really has the Jays guessing.
Arencibia fanned on a 92 mph fastball, while DeRosa was fooled on a curveball out of the zone.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: J.A. Happ was forced to work in the first inning, but he enjoyed a very quick inning in the second.
Happ retired the Red Sox in order on 12 pitches.
Will Middlebrooks flew out to right field after seeing a heavy dose of pitches up in the zone. Jonny Gomes and David Ross each grounded out to Jose Reyes at short.
Ross actually threatened to pull a base hit through the left side, but Reyes made a nice play going into the hole. The shortstop then showed off his cannon with a strong throw to first.
End 1st, 0-0: John Lackey gave up a leadoff single in the first inning of his return, but he was otherwise solid.
Jose Reyes, who had a monster game on Friday night, led off with a base hit into left field. He would then swipe second base, putting Lackey in some early trouble.
The right-hander elevated his game from there, though. Lackey retired the next three hitters, including two via strikeouts, to keep the game scoreless.
Lackey struck out Rajai Davis looking on a cutter on the outside corner, got Melky Cabrera to ground out back to the mound, and then finished the inning by striking out Edwin Encarnacion on a pitch in the dirt. Encarnacion tried to check his swing, but third base umpire James Hoye rung him up.
Overall, it was a nice first inning for Lackey, who was up around 92 mph with his fastball.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury helped make life rather difficult for J.A. Happ in the first inning, but the southpaw left Ellsbury standing at third base.
Ellsbury led off the game with a double into left field. He worked the count full before putting a very late swing on Happ’s 3-2 fastball, which resulted in a ground ball down the line.
Happ bounced back to retire Shane Victorino on a pop up, and he then struck out Dustin Pedroia. Happ pounded Pedroia inside for the most part, but he went away in order to pick up the K.
Ellsbury stole third base with two outs, but Mike Napoli went down looking to end the inning.
Happ threw 22 pitches in the inning, as the Sox showed good patience at the plate. That’s been the hallmark of the Boston offense early on this season, and it’s a major reason the Red Sox entered the game with a major-league best .397 on-base percentage.
1:08 p.m.: J.A. Happ’s first pitch is a called strike, and we’re under way.
1:02 p.m.: John Farrell figures to get another cold reception on Saturday, as Blue Jays fans are really upset with the way his stint as Toronto’s manager ended.
Farrell was booed throughout Friday’s game, but the Red Sox managed to rally around their skipper.
Jonny Gomes may have described the whole situation best.
“We’re starting to be tight-knit,” Gomes said after Friday’s game. “If they’re booing any of our guys, we’ve got your back. If they’re booing our manager, we’ve got your back.”
The season is still very young, but it’s clear the chemistry is miles ahead of where it was last season. That should make for a fun year for Sox fans.
12:48 p.m.: The Blue Jays’ lineup is in, and Jose Bautista will once again sit out.
Manager John Gibbons said Bautista, who left Thursday’s game after twisting his ankle, still didn’t feel quite right. Therefore, Toronto isn’t going to take any chances.
Those who are in Saturday’s lineup can be seen below.
Jose Reyes, SS
Rajai Davis, RF
Melky Cabrera, LF
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Adam Lind, DH
J.P. Arencibia, C
Mark DeRosa, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
J.A. Happ, P
11:20 a.m.: The Red Sox’ lineup is in and — as you’d expect — Jose Iglesias will sit to begin the game.
Iglesias left Friday night’s game with what the team described as a right arm contusion. Iglesias was hit by a pitch in the second inning, and he was eventually replaced by Pedro Ciriaco when he was due up in the top of the fourth. Ciriaco will start in Iglesias’ place on Saturday. He’ll bat ninth.
Jonny Gomes will return to the starting lineup. He entered the game as a pinch hitter on Friday, and went on to draw two big walks in the win.
David Ross will be back behind the plate for his second start of the year. He also played against the Yankees on Thursday.
The rest of Saturday’s lineup is below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Johnny Gomes, DH
David Ross, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
John Lackey, SP
8 a.m. ET: More than 18 months later, he’s back at it.
John Lackey, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, will get his first start of the season on Saturday. He last toed the rubber on Sept. 25, 2011. That outing capped off a dismal two-year stretch for Lackey, and leaves him seeking redemption in 2013.
Lackey enters this season with high aspirations. He’s in the best shape he’s ever been in, and he looks, sounds and, according to him, feels more confident. Most importantly, though, he’s healthy, and that’s something he hasn’t been in quite some time.
While all of this is nice, Lackey’s return to the mound will do nothing to please Red Sox fans if he can’t prove to be a valuable contributor. Lackey doesn’t need to be lights out, but the hope is that he can give the Sox respectable innings at the back end of the rotation.
Lackey’s first test with come against the offensively gifted Blue Jays, who the Red Sox defeated in the series opener on Friday night. While the Sox have jumped out to a 3-1 start, the Jays have stumbled to a 1-3 record to begin the season. With expectations extremely high north of the border, they’ll need to turn things around before long, and it’ll be J.A. Happ tasked with trying to get Toronto moving in the right direction on Saturday.
If Friday was any indication, the crowd at Rogers Centre will certainly be hostile, especially toward Red Sox manager — and former Blue Jays manager — John Farrell. Farrell’s return to Toronto on Friday was sweet, as the Red Sox toppled the Jays 6-4 behind home runs from Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks, but it’s time to get back to work.
Be sure to catch all of the Saturday’s game action on NESN. The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET, and coverage on NESN will begin at noon ET.