Blockbuster Aside, John Lackey Proves To Be The Red Sox Most Valuable Pitcher

By Benjamin Riley
John Lackey
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

With everyone continuing to talk about the mega blockbuster that took place between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers last August, the Red Sox and Dodgers had an important series to play featuring two of the best teams in baseball.

Entering last night, the Red Sox lead the American League with 75 wins. The Dodgers, winners of 45 of their last 55 games, have headlined all of MLB with their incredible run. With two teams set to play a magnified three game series, the Red Sox turned to John Lackey.

Despite getting out pitched by Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco, Lackey turned in one of his season’s most impressive performances. Dealing with some of the league’s toughest outs in Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, Lackey recorded his season’s first complete game. Holding the Dodgers to two runs, three hits and zero walks over eight strong innings, Lackey struck out six batters, registering 69 strikes on 97 pitches.

Contrary to his teammates Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront, Lackey has suffered from poor run support all season long. Despite sporting a 3.17 ERA, Lackey has won only eight games in 23 starts this season. Lackey has received 3.39 runs per start, sitting fourth worst among American League starters.

Many baseball fans will agree, a win-loss record is a poor indicator of a starting pitchers performance. In spite of such poor run support and a disappointing win-loss record, Lackey has continued to excel every fifth day for the Red Sox. Leading the team in quality starts and earned run average, Lackey has proven to be the team’s most valuable pitcher.

With playoff hopes on the horizon, the Red Sox will continue to lean on the big horse down the stretch.

Benjamin Riley is a Major League Baseball columnist for Follow Ben on Twitter and “Like” him on Facebook

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