Are there people out there that are still refusing to jump on the John Lackey bandwagon? I’m not sure what these people are waiting for, but it doesn’t get much better than the big lovable caveman right now.
Last night’s 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics was business as usual for the surly Boston Red Sox right-hander. He gave up only two earned runs on just three hits over seven full innings. The lone blemishes in the game were a solo home run from former Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie and an RBI single by John Jaso.
What’s most impressive about the way Lackey is pitching is that he is able to settle down and gather himself when he’s in a tight spot. For instance, in the second inning, Yoenis Cespedes walked and stole both second and third base. After walking Josh Reddick, Lackey composed himself and enticed Seth Smith into grounding out to end the threat.
Later in the fifth inning, Lackey was protecting a 2-1 lead. He had just given up the RBI single to Jaso, which put Coco Crisp on third base with only one out. With that kind of speed just 90 feet from home plate, Lackey either had to strike out or force Josh Donaldson into a double play. This isn’t an easy task since Donaldson is one of the best third baseman in the AL, and Lackey was seemingly about to unravel.
Instead of letting this situation get out of control though, Lackey did what he’s done all season: overcome adversity. Donaldson hit into a double play and the threat was eliminated.
I now get excited for Lackey starts. I haven’t had this feeling when a Red Sox pitcher takes the mound since the era of Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling. He looks like he’s in great shape and his confidence on the mound is encouraging. If the Red Sox can get Clay Buchholz back and ready to g, and if Felix Doubront can continue pitching the way he is, then they will be an unstoppable force in the AL East.
I look forward to writing my next “I love Lackey” blog in five days.