At the risk of belaboring the point it has to be said once again just how screwed John Lackey has been this year. Lackeys’ lack of run support during this season has been stunning. His effort and performances have only been outdone by Boston’s anemic offensive output whenever he’s on the bump. The Red Sox have been shut out eight times this year. Six of them have come when Lackey has been pitching. In 13 of Lackey’s games the Red Sox have scored a total of 11 runs. Wow.
Here’s the kicker. I was listening to ESPN today in between appointments and they were talking about the 19-1 year that Max Scherzer is having and contrasting it with Lackey’s hard luck stats. The geeks at ESPN ran the numbers and projected that, had Lackey received the same run support as Scherzer this season, he would own a 15-4 record. If that had happened the Red Sox would have long since buried everyone in the AL East and been sailing into the playoffs.
Unlike other seasons with the Sox when Lackey, well, frankly sucked, he has been tough as nails and a total team player on and off the field in 2013. Remember when with either the Angels or Red Sox, when a player would make an error – perhaps even on a valiant effort – Lackey’s dark cloud would descend. His facial expression and the glare he’d fix on a teammate made his feelings clear without a word being said. This year is different and it’s a major reason why he’ll be a big part of the starting rotation should the Sox make the playoffs.
Lackey has recently said that he’s pitching better than he’s ever pitched. It shows. He’s healthy and even through the downs he’s been consistent, going deep into games and eating innings. Going into Tuesday’s game against Detroit, Lackey trailed only Jon Lester on the Red Sox starting pitcher staff with 162.1 innings under his belt.
So bring it on. Lackey appears ready to keep pounding the strike zone. Now if his mates can simply start pounding the ball when he’s pitching.