Lost in the ejection of Michael Pineda on Wednesday night was the brilliance of Red Sox starter John Lackey. Over eight innings, he gave up just one run to the Yankees while striking out 11 without walking anyone, showing off Koji Uehara-esque pitch efficiency in the process. It was the perfect time for the both the Sox and Lackey, too, considering they've both had a recent string of poor starts holding them back.
For the Sox, it was having both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester hit hard and often early in games that resulted in losses. With Lackey, it was two sub-par starts that came after a pair of appearances that are more like what the Sox were hoping for from the 35-year-old veteran. While he dominated his first two times out, Lackey allowed four homers and six runs to the Yankees the last time he faced them, then another six runs to the Orioles in the subsequent start. Outside of those two games, though, he's given up just one other home run and three runs total.
He might not always be as dominant as he was on Wednesday, but he's sure to be better than he was during his brief, two-start hiccup as well. There's little reason to believe he'll be anything besides an above-average pitcher who can give the Sox around 200 innings, especially another year removed from Tommy John surgery, and his dominant outing serves the additional purpose of reminding us that, just because Buchholz and Lester looked awful in their latest starts doesn't mean all hope is lost.
It's April, and any failures are going to stick out more than they should, especially while the Sox are in a bit of a rut. Performances like Lackey's on Wednesday will be noticed regardless of when they happen on the schedule, though: the Sox could use a few more of them to close out the month in order to get back on track as the lineup starts to get healthy.