Am I living in some sort of bizarro world? Has John Lackey really become the MVP of the Boston Red Sox? He’s got a pretty good case.
The Red Sox have the best record in the American League due to the contributions of many players. David Ortiz is having another great season. Dustin Pedroia is on pace to score 100 runs and hit 100 RBIs. Clay Buchholz is 9-0 with an ERA under 2.00. While these are impressive accolades, they don’t match up to what Lackey has done for the Red Sox this year.
Lackey was beyond terrible during his first three years with the Red Sox. He was the face of the overpaid, bad clubhouse player, largely responsible for the team’s fall from grace. If you believed he would be having the season he is now, then I have some property on the Cape that I’d like to sell you, because no one saw this one coming.
Lackey’s record sits at 6-5, which doesn’t compare to Buchholz’. However, Lackey has been the more valuable player. He has consistently pitched every fifth day since a brief injury deterred him in April. He has stopped losing streaks. He finishes innings. He doesn’t walk anyone. These are the intangibles that players like Buchholz don’t provide.
Last night, Lackey dominated the helpless San Diego Padres. The win was his third in his last four outings. In all of those outings Lackey has gone at least seven innings, and hasn’t allowed more than a single walk or two earned runs. His strikeout to walk ratio during that time period is a staggering nine to one.
Lackey’s resurgence has been just what the Red Sox needed this year. It appears as if he’s in good shape and if he can continue to pitch the way he has, the Red Sox will finally start to get something for the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent on him thus far.