Blog Entry

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:50 am

By Evan Brunell

John Lackey's start Wednesday night can't help but leave a sour taste in your mouth. He was rocked for nine runs, with Rajai Davis creating havoc on the bases with four thefts. He gave up nine runs and could not spot the plate whatsoever, throwing just 64 of 118 pitches for strikes en route to free passes. He was fooling no one as he struck out just one and gave up a home run to John McDonald.

John Freaking McDonald.

At this point, Lackey is simply too much of a liability to stay in the rotation. His ERA is now an absurd 8.01 with a pathetic 1.81 WHIP. Sure, Lackey's been a bit unlucky with a high batting average on balls in play and low baserunner-strand rate, but it's not luck that's pushing these numbers; it's his ineffectiveness, period. Lackey had his struggles in 2010, but he's never been this bad.

The righty never saw his ERA creep higher than 5.63 last season, which came in his third start of the year. His season ERA only topped 5.00 two other times; driving the 5.63 mark down to 5.09 in his next start, then getting it down to 3.89 before topping out at 5.07 in a late May start before he was under for good and rode a solid second half to a season-closing mark of 4.40.

Yes, John Lackey is only beginning the second year of his ill-advised five year, $82.5 million pact (it was so ill-advised, I disliked it right from the start) but it's nigh time for a move. Whether that's Lackey being converted to the bullpen or hitting the disabled list with a phantom injury, who cares? Just get him out of the rotation.

Of course, that's not going to happen. Skipper Terry Francona, despite his moves this season in response to the club's poor start, is not one to lift "trusted veterans" from their role until it's so far past time to make a move, people have stopped caring. (Witness Kevin Millar in 2005.)

Look, Lackey is still an important pitcher that will have a (positive) impact on the team before the season is done with and should still throw up plenty of innings over the next four seasons as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but the Red Sox are now three games under .500 and can't seem to get any type of momentum going. It's time now not to worry about trust or regression to the mean. It's time to worry about putting the best product on the field, and Lackey is not part of that product.

There are two replacements that can step right into the rotation to replace Lackey in Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves. Wakefield has already made two spot starts and while he was shelled against the Twins, he performed well in the other versus Seattle (but who doesn't?). He has a 5.40 ERA in 23 1/3 starts and whiffed three in 1 1/3 innings after relieving Lackey. The other option is Alfredo Aceves, who is serving as long man in the rotation and already has a 4 2/3 inning relief stint to his name. It's hard to look past his 2.63 ERA on the year, cobbled together in 13 2/3 innings although his 7/5 K/BB ratio is less rosy. But it's quite a sight better than Lackeys' 19/18 ratio.

There are options down on the farm, too. Felix Doubront punched out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings on Monday in his recovery from an injury and could earn a promotion in a couple of weeks. Matt Fox, who had a late-year stint with the Red Sox in 2010 after coming over from the Twins, has impressed as well while Andrew Miller's control problems have yet to abate and isn't currently an option. Heck, I'm very close to suggesting Brandon Duckworth, of all people (3.67 ERA in six starts for Triple-A) as a more viable option than Lackey.

Lackey's not going anywhere, though. At least, not yet. The first change that will happen is likely Jason Varitek adding Lackey to his ledger, which will push Jarrod Saltalamacchia down to just catching Jon Lester. The team will want to see if Varitek's influence can calm Lackey down, who was unacceptable in his actions Wednesday night, showing up his fielders when they dared make one small mistake. While it's understandable how frustrated Lackey was, you just don't show up your teammates like that, especially when it's your own fault your brain is being beat in.

Lackey's next start is slated for next Tuesday at home against the Orioles and Zach Britton. Expect him to make that start with Varitek behind the dish, but the result is likely to only reinforce the notion that it's time for John Lackey to simply go away for a little while.

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Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Fore sure I believed this was an beautifully important page thank you for taking into account of computer. A person looks as a relatively veteran author.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:20 pm

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Tremendous contribution! I just want to go to an absolute stick to standing on your article??

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: May 12, 2011 1:06 pm

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Yes, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at Thanksgiving (2010).

Since: Jan 26, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:12 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

John Lackey is the absolute worst signing Theo has ever made, and he has made a few very bad ones (see JD Drew, Edgar Renteria, among others).  Anyone who believes that Lackey's problems are with poor play from the cather position or poor defense behind him (like Crawford's terrible play in left last night) are making excuses for a guy who just plain sucks.  They need to put him on the DL, send him for a rehad assignment at AAA and see if this guy can figure it out.  He cant throw strikes, has no movement on his pitches, and cant motivate himself to perform in any way to help his team.  If I performed at my job the way Lackey performs at his I'd be on the bread line.  He just plain sucks and needs to go away.

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2011 8:08 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation


still waiting..........


Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2011 7:32 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Lackey has two major problems right now.  First, the catching is just horrible in Boston.  Salty has been called "a good catcher" by some joke on TV (4 letter network, pick the idiot), but that was the reason why Texas never brought him up.  He is a hitter, but lacked the skills to call a good game and it shows.  Second, Lackey is, and was, overrated when Boston got him.  He has his money and has just let himself go.  I often wonder why the Angels did not resign him (cost was too high and they were outbid) and I can see why.  Lackey does not look like he is in any shape (is apple a shape?) to be pitching, his attitude is just horrible, and everyone else is to blame.  Lackey, you are done.  Sorry Boston, but cash does not buy a crown

Since: Mar 28, 2011
Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:53 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

I don't know about the breast cancer rumours, but if that is so, then perhaps a little vacation would be the perfect thing for him.  There are plenty of guys that would jump at a chance to be in that rotation!  He's a pro league pitcher, if your job isn't good enough for a while, you st the bench, that's how it works. 

Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:07 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation

Any truth to the story that Lackey's wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer?

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