John Lackey just got beat by sequencing.
With seven ground balls in the game, about two or three should have gone for hits. That’s what a long history of ground balls tells us. And that’s what John Lackey had happen. Two found a hole, and a third ended in an infield single. Over the course of three innings, this isn’t a terrible thing. The problem comes when they happen all at once, in a row, with zero outs.
It’s not really something Lackey can control, it’s just random luck. But suddenly instead of having another inning with a harmless single, he had the bases loaded, and one walk later (he did start to lose control at the end), he had a run in.
Josh Hamilton swung 3-0 to save him some trouble, providing just a sacrifice fly, as did Michael Young, so the Rangers only scored two more runs in the inning. But man, that’s a tough one to deal with.
The good news is that the Sox are still in a pretty good position thanks to another pair of runs coming in the top of the frame on a sacrifice fly from Carl Crawford, and Ryan Lavarnway’s double. The rookie DH hit that slider this time, going in front of the plate to catch it at just the right time. A pretty good bit of hitting there.