Two dismal seasons and Tommy John surgery weren’t enough to stop John Lackey in his quest for success with the Boston Red Sox. After going 26-23 and a 5.24 ERA in his first two years with the Red Sox, Lackey has countered those tumultuous seasons with two promising campaigns in 2013 and 2014. In his last two seasons, Lackey has gone 14-15 with a 3.67 ERA and 200 strikeouts, helping the Red Sox win the 2013 World Series.
Aside from two bad starts against the New York Yankees (April 12) and Baltimore Orioles (April 18), Lackey has maintained his solid composure throughout the season, leading the Red Sox with four wins, while striking out 39 batters in six starts. Lackey has averaged 6.5 strikeouts per start, and has been a major factor for a rotation that has been in flux during the 2014 season.
His last two starts, however, have indicated how efficient Lackey could be as a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Facing the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, Lackey has gone eight innings in each start, combining to strike out 16 batters in both starts. Lackey has been re-asserting his dominance, giving him the confidence to be a solid contributor to the Red Sox rotation.
Despite all of the promise that he has demonstrated this season, Lackey is still getting older. Already four years into his six-year contract, Lackey, 35, can’t possibly be this good over a longer period of time. As younger starters start to seep into the rotation, the aging Lackey might become vulnerable to competition, which could hurt his chances of staying in the rotation in the future. Until then, Lackey has to pitch well, get key outs and help the Red Sox win solid games the rest of the way.
In essence, Lackey has re-emerged as a solid starter for the Red Sox during the most recent portion of his career. Even though his first two seasons were filled with turmoil and doubts, Lackey has powered back, reinvigorating an otherwise lifeless Red Sox rotation into one that has a chance of returning to the postseason in 2014.