May 27, 2018
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Boston’s Lackey continues to fare better at home than on road

Chris Humphreys | Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys | Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey has enjoyed considerably more success at Fenway Park this season than he has on the road.
By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

Red Sox manager John Farrell intends to hold off until after Sunday’s season finale to reveal the order of his starting rotation for the best-of-five American League Division Series.

But here’s a safe bet: John Lackey will start one of the games at Fenway Park.

After allowing four runs on six hits, including three solo homers, in Tuesday night’s 8-3 loss to the Rockies, Lackey’s ERA in 16 starts on the road rose to 4.48. In 13 starts at Fenway Park, Lackey has a 2.47 ERA.

“I would have probably given up a couple less runs tonight if I was at Fenway,” Lackey said, referring to the long balls hit by Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson that may have been aided by the thin air of Coors Field, although there was nothing cheap about Troy Tulowitzki’s shot to straightaway center field. “You can’t put your finger on it, really. If I could pitch that well on the road I would certainly try to.”

Farrell has one theory: Lackey is adept at getting right-handed hitters to chase pitches on the outside corner, which often results in fly balls to right-center field.

“He takes advantage of a big right-field and center-field area,” Farrell said. “That’s probably one of the primary reasons. He’s so good to that side of the plate.”

Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice and worked out. After the game, manager John Farrell said Ellsbury would probably be in the lineup Wednesday. Before the game, Farrell said if Ellsbury came through the pregame activities fine, he would play a few innings Wednesday. Ellsbury last played Sept. 5. He is recovering from a compression fracture in his right foot.

Lackey gave up three homers and four runs while pitching six innings. He is 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 14 starts at Fenway Park but 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 20 road starts. Manager John Farrell trying to explain the difference, said, “He’s certainly comfortable in Fenway. I think he takes advantage of a big right-field and center-field area. He pitches so well to his glove side of the plate, so right-handers, he’s going to force them to reach for that ball on that (outer) part of the plate.”

Dustin Pedroia is hitting .298, his average dropping one point after he went 1-for-4. Pedroia has hit safely in 11 of his past 13 games, averaging .315 (17-for-54) in that span with four doubles, one homer, five RBIs and eight runs scored.

Shane Victorino had a deep drive by Michael Cuddyer glance off his glove for a double in the first. But the Red Sox have made just 80 errors in 158 games, and their defense generally has been far better than most expected entering the season. Manager John Farrell said, “The thing that I think has stood out to me is how well Shane Victorino plays right field. If there’s an element of our defense that is greater than expected, Shane is the guy.”

Jake Peavy is 4-6 (3.92) in 18 career starts against the Rockies, whom he last faced on June 30, 2011, while with the Chicago White Sox. In nine starts at Coors Field, Peavy is 3-4, 4.74. In his last start Wednesday against Baltimore, Peavy allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings but didn’t factor in the decision as the Red Sox lost 5-3 in 12 innings. Since his last loss Aug. 15, Peavy is 2-0 (3.10) in six starts, limiting opponents to a .195 average, .259 on-base percentage and .329 slugging percentage in that span.

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