Thursday June 27, 2013 | 06:39 AM

Remember when John Lackey signed with the Red Sox before the 2010 season? The talk was that Boston had three aces in Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

It didn't work out that way. Until this year, Lackey had been a disappointment (mainly because of health issues). Beckett has been shipped out, and Lester is hot and cold.

Lackey is 5-5 with a 2.99 ERA this year. He came through Wednesday with 12 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings (8 hits/2 runs).

Lackey is Boston's current "ace" as Lester (7-4, 4.57) is stumbling and Clay Buchholz can't get healthy. Buchholz's bullpen session was shut down Wednesday because of a sore trapezius muscle (affecting the neck, back and shoulder).

When Buchholz was first scratched from a start it was described as a little thing ... but the problem persists. Sox fans are hoping this is not 2011 all over again when they kept waiting for Buchholz to come off the DL. He only pitched 14 games that season.

After Boston's win Wednesday, and losses by both the Orioles and Yankees, here are the standings: 

Red Sox 47-33
Yankees 42-35 (3.5 games back)
Orioles 43-36 (3.5)
Rays 41-38 (5.5)
Jays 39-38 (6.5)

Pawtucket beat Toledo 5-4 with a 5-run 7th inning. Newly-demoted Will Middlebrooks singled in the winning run ... Brock Huntzinger (1-0, 2.35) got the win even though he gave up his first Triple-A runs (two in 1 1/3 innings) ... Chris Martin (3.15) earned his first save with two scoreless innings ... Jackie Bradley Jr. (.315) had two doubles ... Xander Bogaerts (.231) was 1-for-4.

Both Bogaerts and Sea Dogs pitcher Anthony Ranaudo were named to the Major League All-Stars Futures Game. Ranaudo is enjoying a turnaround season. Putting on 20 pounds in the off-season has been a factor. See today's story.

Salem shortstop Deven Marrero (.272) is on a tear. He went 2-for-4 with a double Wednesday and is batting .461 (12-for-26) in his last six games.

Lester pitches in Boston tonight, while the Sea Dogs and Drake Britton are in Manchester, N.H. The weather may interrupt both games.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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