On Friday night, John Lackey suffered his eleventh loss of the season, despite going eight innings and giving up just two runs. Lackey just might be the unluckiest pitcher in baseball when it comes to win-loss record.
Now, I could go on a long drawn out argument about how completely pointless the pitcher’s win stat has become, but I will leave that to Brian Kenny in all his appearances on the MLB Network. Instead, let us take a deeper look at John Lackey and give him the credit he deserves this season.
His ERA is 3.17 this season, which is eleventh best in the American League. Of Lackey’s 23 starts this season, he has allowed two or fewer runs 15 times. The Boston Red Sox average five runs scored per game, meaning, by the law of averages, Lackey should have 15 easy wins this season, but instead he has only eight.
How does this happen? Simple: Among the 39 qualified starters in the American League, Lackey ranks 28th in run support. In other words, when Lackey takes to the hill, the Red Sox offense takes the night off. This has led to a pitcher with the eleventh lowest ERA in the American League to have an 8-11 record on a baseball team 20+ games over .500.
Lackey has pitched like the ace of a team this season but has flown under the radar at the same time. His attitude is even right after all the beer and chicken stories from two years ago. He was quoted after the Friday night game as saying “I want to win the game. I didn’t come here for ERA. I came here to try and win a championship.”
Keep at it, Lackey. Maybe the offense will decide to show up for your starts down the stretch.