It’s bad enough that the All-Star Break now runs four days long for most teams, but this is just cruel: A late-night game for the first game back? Not funny, baseball schedulers, not funny.
To make matters worse, the pitching matchup is Clay Buchholz against John Lackey. Buchholz has had his adjustment problems, namely command. That didn’t improve too much last time out: five walks, though amazingly only one of them scored (the others were all on the old-fashioned hit method). Still, it was a better start than the two that forced him down to Pawtucket.
Lackey, meanwhile, is pretty much the only 2007 Cy Young candidate other than Josh Beckett still pitching in the American League. He had been doing the same old Lackey stuff — 1.44 ERA through his first nine starts — until June 23. He gave up five earned runs to the Nationals in six innings, then followed that up by allowing 15 hits in less than six innings to the Rangers. The Angels won that game. I had to look, and that’s the most hits given up by any starter in baseball this season in such a short outing — or any outing, for that matter. (The Red Sox’ highest is the 11 given up by Beckett in May).
So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Lackey will probably rebound in his home park, requiring Clay Buchholz to be really good. Like, no-hit good. Sure would be nice to extend the lead in the East, but I’m not sure this is the day it’ll happen.