John Lackey and the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen took care of the Detroit Tigers in a 1-0 win on Monday.
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Lackey took to the mound against David Price in Monday’s outing. Lackey pitched three perfect innings in his 2015 Grapefruit League debut. He struck out four batters.
“I was really pleased with the fastball location for this early, and I felt like I had a little bit on it for this early,” Lackey said according to MLB.com’s Steve Dorsey. “The slider was pretty good. The curveball wasn’t great, it needs some work. The changeup, I was about 50-50 on. There are definitely some things to work on. But the main goal of throwing fastballs, building arm strength and locating, that was pretty good today. It was probably a little too early to be throwing that hard. I might back off next time and bring it back later on. That’s what was there.”
Three hits were allowed by the Cardinals bullpen–two by Carlos Villanueva and one by Tim Cooney. Lackey and the bullpen combined for twelve strikeouts. Closer Trevor Rosenthal recorded his first save of the season.
“It was a good day for John. It was a good day for us,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said according to Dorsey.
Lackey was put on a slower program this spring or he would have already made his first start.
“There was just a crispness to him that he’d shown in all his bullpens,” Matheny said according to Dorsey. “Today, he let it go a little bit. The ball was jumping. Great location, great movement. Just nice to watch.”