John Lackey Hopes to Start Anew in 2013
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 17:02
Ben Cherington did not break the bank to bring in a star pitcher for 2013, but many forget that he did not really have to. Yes that is true, the Sox already have a qualified number two/three starter, and his name is John Lackey.
John Lackey came to Boston (with very little fanfare) in 2010 as one of Theo Epstein’s biggest acquisitions that offseason. He underperformed from the outset, and earned a great deal of ire from the fans at Fenway. To be honest, when Theo signed Lackey I was never the biggest fan; he has a career ERA of 4.10 and a 1.345 WHIP (walks/hits per inning). Those are not great numbers, but back then the Sox were able to count on Lester and Beckett to carry the staff. His habit of always scowling, rolling his eyes when asked “dumb” questions, and tossing up his hands when a teammate makes an error hardly qualified him for one of Fenway’s most beloved players.
Lackey went down early in 2012 and took the year off to get Tommy John surgery on his elbow, which had apparently been gradually breaking down ever since he set foot in Boston (how it got past the Sox medical staff we will never know).
Lackey has returned though; he was one of the first players up to spring training a week before he was scheduled to arrive and he has been looking good so far. Lackey looks to have dropped 10 pounds over the offseason, and has been throwing with a little extra on his fastball giving the Sox coaching staff much needed confidence in their number three starter. Clay Buchholz has even went so far to call Lackey a “legitimate ace,” that’s a claim that needs time to be determined but it could be an indication that Lackey is turning things around.
Lackey may not be the star power, or one of the “sexy” players that ownership wants, but he is a fierce competitor and wears his heart on his sleeve. When guys like Pedroia and Youkilis play hurt or start fights we cheer them on, well if Lackey can win Fenway over maybe he can be one of those players.
Lackey has three years remaining on his contract, and you can bet the farm that he will pitch his heart out in every one of them. Lackey
may have a bad reputation among fans, but he is a competitor. He wants to win more than anyone else, and for a Sox staff that seems too passive, his intensity may be just what the Red Sox need. He is not ace, but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out with the mindset to win every game.
When he was with the Angels Lackey was one of the most hated pitchers of the staff, now he gets a fresh start to show us what he’s got. Lackey will get about 30 chances to prove to Fenway that he is still a dominant pitcher, let’s hope for his sake that he does.