Michael Pineda couldn't hide the pine tar on the side of his neck Wednesday night. (AP)David Ortiz dubbed it "way too obvious."

A.J. Pierzynski said, "It's bad for the game, it's bad for everything."

Jake Peavy dubbed it, "offensive."

All true.



ROB BRADFORD

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John Lackey knew what he needed to do tonight against the Yankees.

Following two sticky starts against the Yankees and Orioles where he allowed six runs over 5 2/3 and 5 1/3 innings, respectively, Lackey needed to turn in a strong performance to help save a taxed bullpen. Lackey needed to be the pitcher he was in his first two starts of the season, when he allowed a total of two earned runs over 13 innings pitched.

But Lackey wasn’t focused on turning around his own individual performance. Instead, Lackey focused in on putting forth a performance that would give the bullpen a rest and set up the rest of the pitching staff moving forward over the next couple of days.

Lackey did just that.

“I really wasn’t thinking about [turning things around],” Lackey said. “I was thinking about trying to give the bullpen rest, for sure. We’ve got some guys down there that have been worked pretty good the last week or so and we’re trying to give those guys a little bit of a breather and win a ballgame.”

Through his eight-inning outing, Lackey tarred the corners pitch after pitch with strikes, befuddling the Yankee lineup at the plate all night. The hurler struck out a season-high 11 hitters for his third win of the season. The outing marked his highest strikeout output since July 26, 2013 versus Colorado when he punched 12 Rockies.

Lackey turned around his performance through a slight adjustment in the game plan. Through the early innings of the game, Lackey mixed his pitches more, throwing his curveball in the early innings instead of pounding away with high fastball.

“The one in New York, I definitely missed some locations and I didn’t pitch very well,” Lackey said. “I thought that my last one could’ve been a lot better considering a few little things. I didn’t make too crazy adjustments. I just tried to a little bit more of a mix with my pitches a little bit earlier on.”

“The usage of a sharp breaking ball.,” said Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves. “He defined his breaking ball a lot more, from curveball to cutter. He threw some changeups. He threw some more two-seamers to left-handed hitters. He kept the ball on the ground a lot more. A little plan we had after the outing in New York. He’s such a strong competitor that sometimes going away from familiarity (is tough). It was great disposition from him, and it showed he could open his repertoire and use more pitches.”

All night, Lackey located his pitches at will all night, throwing 76 percent of his 111 pitches for strikes. The dominant command led Lackey to his success against the Yankee lineup, highlighted by his four punch outs of Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.

“The biggest things was that he was putting the ball where he wanted it to,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. “He was able to throw multiple pitches and he had put away pitches. The last couple of outings, he’s been a little bit off and I know him and Juan had talked and made a couple of adjustments, but tonight, he was spot on.”

The balance between a sharp breaking ball and Lackey’s usual strong fastball keyed the righty into a successful outing.

“He’s always been trustworthy on his fastball,” Nieves said. “I thought overall, using four-seamers and two-seamers is very important for him. Also, defining his breaking ball and keeping the gap between the curveball and the cutter. Sometimes when pitchers have both pitches they make a hybrid pitch and throw some slurries. I thought defining his breaking ball was important, with him throwing his hard breaking ball and then changing speed to his other breaking ball, his curveball”

Throughout the outing, Lackey balanced pounding the strike zone with catching too much of the plate.

“There is such thing as too many strikes if you’re hitting the white part of the plate too much,” Lackey said. “I was fortunate enough tonight to be hitting the corners more times than not and AJ called a good game. We had a good mix going. It wasn’t like I was throwing one pitch for a strike. I was able to mix it up a little bit and that helped.”

Knowing the predicament with the bullpen, Lackey put it upon his shoulders to go out and stick around  deep into the game to give the worn down relievers some rest.

“It was a challenge and a motivation, for sure,” Lackey said. “It’s not something I haven’t done before. I’ve been the guy to go Opening Day a few times so it’s something that I’m capable of and expect out of myself.”

Blog Author: 
Joon Lee

Following the Red Sox‘ 5-1 win over the Yankees, the majority of the conversation centered on New York starter Michael Pineda being ejected  in the second inning after being caught with pine tar on the right side of his neck.

PinedaPineTarFollowing the Red Sox‘ 5-1 win over the Yankees, the majority of the conversation centered on New York starter Michael Pineda being ejected  in the second inning after being caught with pine tar on the right side of his neck.

With Pineda’s April 10 start against the Red Sox still fresh in most everyone’s mind — with the righty having been seen with a glob of pine tar on his wrist before removing the substance in the fifth inning before the Red Sox could act — there was little room for interpretation.

After the ejection, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Pineda and New York general manager Brian Cashman didn’t question the ruling, or the objection made by Red Sox manager John Farrell. Here is what they had to say:

GIRARDI

Did you know he had it on?: “I did not. He did not have it on when the game started. I guess from what I understand he had a hard time gripping the ball and put it on in the second inning. Obviously that’€™s a problem and we’€™re going to have to deal with the circumstances and Michael’€™s going to have to deal with it and we’€™ll get through it.”

Did you see it on him? “No, I did not, I never saw it on Michael, so. I didn’€™t look at Michael. Gerry told me he did, said he had something on his neck and I just said, ‘€˜OK,’€™ got Phelpsie ready and worried about trying to keep the score the same.”

Michael Pineda is examined for pine tar by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. (AP)

Michael Pineda is examined for pine tar by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. (AP)

What about the April 10 game? “Obviously we have discussions with all our pitchers on things they’€™re dealing with, that’€™s what we do. We don’€™t ignore situations, we handle situations and something Michael chose to do after the first inning, he had a hard time gripping the baseball. Conditions are not conducive to gripping a baseball. Unknown to us he put it on and went out there.”

Surprised at his judgement?: “I mean, it’€™s a young kid. I don’€™t think he’€™s trying to do anything to cheat, I think he’€™s trying to just go out there and compete. It’€™s unfortunate it happened but like I said we’€™ll deal with it we’€™ll get through this, it’€™s a little bump in the road and we’€™ll be all right.”

Upset?: “I’€™m not going to get mad at him. The kid’€™s doing the best he can, he’€™s trying to compete, and that’€™s what he’€™s trying to do. I don’€™t think he’€™s trying to get an edge on anyone. He’€™s a young man that’€™s been through a lot, been through a lot of rehab and has worked his tail end to get off to this start and he made an error in judgment.”

Where do you go from here?: “It’€™s something we have to deal with. There are other things that are going to come up in the course of the year that we’€™ll find a way to get through it.”

Want a rule change?: “That’€™s something I’€™ll talk with  Major League Baseball. Obviously you want guys to compete at the highest level and you want safety. It’€™s something I’€™ll talk to MLB about.”

Will there be a suspension?: “I have no idea, will just wait to see what comes down.”

What did Pineda said: “I did not talk to Michael right away, obviously my job is to manage the game. And then I went up in the dugout. He feels bad, he feels like he let his teammates down. But as I said to Michael, ‘€˜Hey, this is a little bump, we’€™ll get through this, we’€™ll find a way to get through this and you’€™ll be back pitching before you know it.”

What about turning the dugout camera?: “No, what frustrated me is the camera is meant for the dugout, not for the tunnel and Michael was already out of the game so what I wanted was I don’€™t want it down in our tunnel, that’€™s our private area. It has been clearly stated that that is for the dugout, not for the tunnel, not for conversations and what happens between players and coaches and that was my beef. If I was really going to tear up the camera, I would have torn it up but I was trying to get it from being in the tunnel.’€™’€™

Surprised at Farrell’s objection?: “If it’€™s that obvious, with all the attention, I don’€™t think so.’€™’€™

Bad judgement?: “He made poor judgment tonight. He’€™ll admit to that. But I think you can look at everyone in that room and everyone in this room, we have not always made the best decisions in our life and you learn from them.”

Problems with dugout camera?: “I think MLB’€™s going to have a problem with ESPN going into our tunnel. I didn’€™t break the camera, all I did was keep it from going into our tunnel. You guys are acting like I ripped it apart. The camera worked the rest of the game, didn’€™t it? All I did was turn so it was on the field or the dugout. … If I’€™m going to get fined for that, I’€™ll have a real problem with that because I didn’€™t do anything to hurt the camera. The camera’€™s in my way, there wasn’€™t one on the other side. The camera’€™s in my way, that’€™s where I stand every day, the camera’€™s in my way.”

Pineda gave Red Sox no choice?: ’€œThat’€™s probably fair to say.’€™’€™

PINEDA

Why did you do it?: ”In the first inning I no feel the ball, and you know, I don’€™t want to like hit anybody so I decide to use it.”

Why your neck?: “I don’€™t know. Like, you know, like, it’€™s cold, and I no want to hit anybody on the team, and I want to feel good the ball and make a good pitch.”

It’s illegal: “Yeah, but, the team. I don’€™t feel the ball and I don’€™t want to hit anybody, so …”

Who put it on you?: “Yeah, I do it by myself, yeah.”

Pine tar?: “Yeah, yeah. It’€™s pine tar.”

Expect suspension?: “Yea. You know, like, I feel so apologize for my team and everybody, so, I learn from this mistake. It no happen again.”

Did anybody with Yankees talk to you about this?: “No, nobody talked to me about that. I do it today because I no feel the ball in the first inning, and I do it by myself.”

What about what happened on April 10?: “This is the past. I don’€™t want to talk about it. I know I make a mistake today. That’€™s it.”

Did you apologize to your teammates?: “Yeah. I apologize to my teammates cause you know I put all the relievers in a bad (spot), so I apologize to my teammates and everybody. I feel so sad.”

What about next time?: “I go out there  and pitch my game. I no use it anymore.”

CASHMAN

Thoughts?: “We certainly are responsible, and there’€™s certainly failure on our part as an organization as a whole that he took the field in the second inning with that on his neck. He’€™s responsible for his actions, but we failed as an organization for somehow him being in that position. I don’€™t know how, none of us right now, we’€™re scratching our head right now, how that took place.”

Was there a conversation with Pineda?: “I think it’€™s probably best to not comment on that, but clearly what took place in the second inning should not be taking place.”

Are you angry?: ”I think we’€™re all embarrassed. We as a group are embarrassed that this has taken place. I think Michael’€™s embarrassed. I think we’€™re embarrassed that somehow he took the field with that in the position like that. It’€™s just obviously a bad situation, and it clearly forced the opponents’€™ hand to do something that I’€™m sure they didn’€™t want to do, but they had no choice but to do. Obviously we’€™ll deal with the ramifications of that now.”

Retribution?: ”It’€™s not anything that’€™s on our mind. Listen, I would want our manager to do what John Farrell did. I would want, on behalf of our fan base and our team, to do the same thing that they did. Obviously this is a terrible situation that we all witnessed and we’€™re all a part of and we all have ownership to because there was clearly a failure and a breakdown that he wound up walking out of that dugout with something like that. It’€™s just not a good situation.”

Why didn’€™t you know? ”I think with television. With television I think the Red Sox probably saw it just like we saw it, but he was already on the field. He didn’€™t have it in the first inning. He had it in the second inning. There wasn’€™t anything there in the first inning. He walked out of the dugout in the second inning with it on, and I think by the time everybody saw what was going on, it was too late.”

Did you see it before the ump? ”I personally got a phone call from people watching the game on TV like, ‘€˜Hey, I don’€™t know what’€™s going on, but something looks (suspicious).’€™ So I got out of the stands, walked in, but by the time I made it from the stands in here it was too late.”

Is the problem that he used it or that it was so obvious? ”It’€™s against the rules, let’€™s leave it at that.”

Dumbfounded that it was so blatant? ”We are all responsible. He did what he did, but we are all responsible that he got out of our dugout and was on the field in that manner. We’€™re all responsible for that situation. Don’€™t misunderstand that we are a part of putting something on him and stuff like that, but clearly we all have ownership of the fact that that never should have happened.”

Was he told not to do it?: “There have been enough conversations. And obviously there will be more now, or there have already been more now, even in-game when he was ejected from the game. I think after the last go-around with the same team, clearly there were a lot of conversations about this. There are no secrets there.”

Expect suspension?: ”Yes.”

Message to the fans?: ”This is not something that we’€™re proud to be sitting in, and we’€™re certainly embarrassed. When he took the field in the second inning, that should never have taken place.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

John Farrell had no choice Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There was no room for looking the other way from the greasy skin of Michael Pineda this time.

John Farrell had no choice Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There was no room for looking the other way from the greasy skin of Michael Pineda this time.

After watching the Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda blatantly used pine tar on his hand in a 4-1 win on April 13 at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox manager said he had no choice but to call for home plate umpire Gerry Davis to inspect the right side of Pineda’s neck in the second inning Wednesday at Fenway Park.

What Davis found was an obvious streak of pine tar used by the pitcher to gain an advantage on the grip of the baseball. The blatant use of pine tar represented an obvious violation of rule 8.02 (4) of applying a foreign substance to the ball and Pineda was immediately ejected. After being warned by MLB after his previous violation in New York, Pineda faces an almost certain suspension of at least eight games from Major League Baseball for the latest infraction.

“When it’s that obvious, something has to be said,” Farrell said afterward in explaining his trip to the mound to call for an inspection.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox pitcher John Lackey after he goes 8 solid innings in a great performance, while giving the Red Sox bullpen a night off. Lackey talks a little about what he thinks about Michael Pineda's ejection for having pine tar on his neck.

[0:00:00] ... I John Lackey what are performance that night the eleven strikeouts no walks that tremendous percentages strikes close to 80%. It looked like you put the ball exactly where he wanted to. Felt for a New Hampshire house front found the strike zone and Tony did -- that games are open tournament taxes and few times and then lately trying to give those does the ...
[0:01:31] ... knocked out of the game. As he was to reject the little plate umpire of their premier and what did you see. I mean I was sitting down down below my wouldn't Wear it with by ...
[0:02:27] ... against and obviously an outstanding line a great job thanks that's. Today John Lackey with a stellar performance tonight eleven strikeouts one short of his high with a Red Sox job. ...





Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox pitcher John Lackey after he goes 8 solid innings in a great performance, while giving the Red Sox bullpen a night off. Lackey talks a little about what he thinks about Michael Pineda's ejection for having pine tar on his neck.

John Lackey came into Wednesday looking for a bounce back start after two straight shaky outings where the righty gave up six runs in less than five innings pitched.

John Lackey came into Wednesday looking for a bounce back start after two straight shaky outings where the righty gave up six runs in less than five innings pitched. Sans the help of pine tar, Lackey delivered a dynamite eight inning, one-run performance, helping lift the Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Yankees.

Through his eight innings, Lackey dominated the Yankees to the tune of a season-high eleven strikeouts on seven hits. Lackey consistently pounded the outside part of the plate with all of his pitches, throwing 76 percent (111 pitches, 84 strikes) of his pitches for strikes on the evening.

The stickiest situation all night for the hurler came in the fifth inning, when Yankees right fielder Brett Gardner started the inning off with a single and was moved to third base by Kelly Johnson‘s ground rule double. Lackey quickly responded to the hits by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury and forcing Derek Jeter to ground out to Dustin Pedroia.

The Yankees‘ lone run came in the sixth inning when Alfonso Soriano drove in Carlos Beltran on a sacrifice fly. The Yankees’ one run is tied the lowest run total a Red Sox opponent has scored this year (The Texas Rangers also scored one run in a 5-1 win on April 7).

Lackey’s eight inning performance was incredibly important for the Red Sox bullpen, which has thrown 14.2 innings in the three games prior to tonight’s contest.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

  • Grady Sizemore started the home half of the first inning with a standup triple into the right field corner, breaking his 0-for-13 streak on the homestand. Sizemore was 1-for-26 before the three bagger. The triple was Sizemore’€™s first since June of 2011. Sizemore scored on a Dustin Pedroia single up the middle.
  • The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning for the first time this season.
  • This time, the Red Sox got him. Michael Pineda was ejected in the middle of second inning forusing pine tar. Home plate umpire Gerry Davis ejected the tall righty after touching a shiny area on Pineda’s neck. Major League Baseball will review the incident on Thursday and former Yankees manager and current MLB Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre will determine the length of Pineda’s suspension. PinedaPineTar
  • Mike Napoli continued his strong week with an RBI double in the third inning that bounced fair down the right field line and disappeared into the stands. During the ensuing confusion, Napoli ran home because Gardner and the umpires could not find the ball. The play was subsequently ruled a ground rule double. Since April 13, Napoli is hitting .342 with a .385 on-base percentage with four doubles, three home runs and six RBI.
  • Dustin Pedroia continued his recent hot streak with two singles, two runs scored and one RBI. Since receiving a cortisone shot in his left wrist on April 15, Pedroia has hit .352 (34 at-bats) with a .450 on-base percentage with six doubles and three RBI.
  • Brock Holt turned in another strong performance with an RBI single and two walks. Since being recalled from Pawtucket on April 18, Holt is hitting .400 with four RBI with a .458 on-base percentage.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

  • Catcher A.J. Pierzynski swung through a hit-and-run that resulted in Mike Napoli being thrown out at second base.
Blog Author: 
Joon Lee