After striking out 12 batters without surrendering a walk in seven strong innings in his prior start against the Colorado Rockies, Lackey was able to provide an encore performance last night against the San Diego Padres. Lackey pitched eight innings of one-run ball, fanning six Padres’ batters in the process. The lone blemish of the night came in the top of the seventh inning when Jesus Guzman cracked a home run over the Green Monster in left field.
In two starts against NL West foes, Lackey has pitched 15 innings, registering 18 punch-outs and yielding just three walks. But his dominance stems much farther than just his outings against NL West opponents. In his last six starts, Lackey has struck out 37 batters with just three walks.
Fenway Park continues to be a major comfort zone for Lackey, who holds the second-best home ERA (1.32) in MLB. Overall, Lackey now owns a commendable 2.81 ERA, ninth-best in the American League.
Given Lackey’s resurgence this season, is Lackey on his way to the 2013 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award? You could certainly make that case, especially since the right-hander missed the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. In 2011, Lackey posted a dreadful 6.41 ERA, the worst among starting pitchers that season.
Flash-forward two seasons and Lackey is manning the first-place Red Sox rotation with ace Clay Buchholz on the disabled list. Given Lackey’s recent success on the mound, It would seem foolish to leave him out of the upcoming All-Star Game. Lackey has registered outings of seven innings or more in his last four starts.
Lackey has silenced his critics with his play this season and if he continues to pitch this well, he deserves to win the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.