John Lackey was outstanding last night and I was fortunate enough to be there at Fenway to witness it. By now, whatever expectations (or fears) I had of Lackey going back to the wildly inconsistent pitcher we signed from the Angels were gone, especially after his 12-strikeout performance last week against the Rockies. What I didn't expect was what he did last night. Last night was his longest outing in 2 years. It was pretty incredible to watch in person. He only struck out 6 last night, but he was ruthlessly efficient and he kept his pitch count under control. His only blemish was a home run to Jesus Guzman. Other than that, he only gave up one walk the whole game, while the offense (aka Brandon Snyder) gave him all the run support he needed in the 4th inning. Snyder nearly hit the Boston Strong sign in center field, then was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. That drove in 3 runs and gave Lackey plenty of run support. The Sox tacked on a 4th run in the 6th inning.
It was a great all around performance by the team, and it was a real joy to watch the team in person. Seeing the transformation in the team from last year to this year is fantastic. Just a little side note: the last game I attended in person was the last win for the Red Sox last season, and it was depressing because the season was over at that point and last year was just a disaster. Period. And before that, I saw a game during the epic collapse of 2011, so that wasn't fun. I've been a Red Sox fan since the young age of 6 (I'm 22 now), so I've seen a lot, and last year and 2011 were both painful to watch, so it was great to see the shift in attitude on the field. Look, I'm not going to pretend that I was a fan of Lackey's when he came here. He was inconsistent in his first year, and he was out all of last season, so I'm thinking to myself before this season started "Why did we keep this guy around?" Then this year started and he actually looked like the guy we paid big bucks for. Then I saw last night's game in person, and that just about removed any doubts I had. Another thing about going to a game in person is the "magic of Fenway," or whatever you want to call it, gets me every time. This also keeps my streak of seeing at least one Sox game every season intact (I usually try to see 2-3 a year).