Red Sox pitcher does Yankees a favor
There are times to retaliate for infractions of unwritten rules and times not to. One time definitely not to do it is at the start of a late inning in a game of importance in which you are trailing. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey took precisely that time to take revenge against Francisco Cervelli, and it helped the Yankees get a run.
Cervelli obviously ticked off Lackey and his catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, not only for the home run the Yankees’ backup catcher hit in the fifth inning but also because he stomped on the plate and clapped his hands when he reached home. This is a big no-no in the game of be careful not to show up the opposition.
Lackey did not waste any time. The next time he saw Cervelli as the leadoff hitter in the seventh with the Yankees leading 4-2 the righthander hit him in the back with a pitch. The dugouts emptied, and there was the usual jawing and finger pointing but no punches were thrown. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was furious enough to get himself ejected for his behavior.
Lackey’s maneuver fulfilled the macho code but proved foolish because it eventually cost the Red Sox a run. A passed ball by Saltalamacchia got Cervelli to second base, and he crossed to third when Bret Gardner beat out an infield single on a sacrifice attempt. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, but Cervelli crossed the plate, so just what did Boston gain for retaliating so soon?
The Yankees and Red Sox still have two more games left in this series and another series left in the regular season Sept. 23-25 at Yankee Stadium, plenty of time to make Cervelli pay for his indiscretion. What Lackey did Tuesday night was just foolish, to the Yankees’ benefit.