John Lackey in the off-season of 2009 was the most sought after pitcher on the free agent market and one of the most sought after players period. Several teams were on the prowl for a proven starter to add to their rotation and ultimately the Red Sox were the victors.
At the beginning of the 2010 season the Red Sox had high expectations especially with their starting rotation that included Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Matsuzaka, and of course the new addition, John Lackey, possibly one of the best rotations to start that season. Daisuke was not able to ever replicate his numbers from his 1st two seasons and this continued in 2010 with a 4.69 ERA. Josh Beckett was also a disappointment with a 5.78 ERA while Buchholz and Lester were the shining points with ERAs of 2.33 and 3.25 respectively.
Lackey, with his recently signed 5 year deal worth $82.5 million was supposed to rank up there with Clay and Jon and unfortunately was just as much a disappointment as Dice-K and Beckett posting a 4.40 ERA and a 14-11 record. This was the first season since 2004 Lackey had posted an ERA above 4.00.
The 2011 season did not see John Lackey respectably earn any of that money from that lucrative deal either. The season started off with Lackey going 2-5 and putting up a miserable 8.01 ERA. He was eventually put on the DL with an elbow strain. When he returned the season did not get any better. As a matter of fact it was one of the worst in Red Sox history. He finished with an ERA of 6.41 and a record of 12-12. Throughout that season he gave up 114 runs which were the worst by any pitcher in the American League. So far Lackey had not satisfied any fans or coaches expectations or reasoning for the near triple digit contract. To make matters worse stories came out about him and other pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken on their off days in the club house.
During that off-season it was announced that Lackey would be going under the knife and be out for the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. There went our hopes of trading him thus having to deal with him for at least another season to prove to potential suitors willing to take him that he would be a better pitcher post surgery and be worthy of a somewhat decent trade.
But wait here is the 2013 season and nobody is talking about trading John Lackey anymore, rather we are all asking ourselves if this was really happening. The answer is, Yes. John Lackey at this point, with Buchholz out, has become the ace for the Red Sox. He is finally respectably earning his money in Boston.
John Lackey has a 2.81 ERA, which ranks in the top 20 in the league and top 10 in the AL. He has only given up 7 runs in his last 4 starts spanning 29 innings and is 3-0 through those games. Those 4 games have also seen Lackey tie his career strikeouts in an outing against Colorado and tally up 12. The last 2 game totals are 18 and during the 3-0 span he has 27 all the while only giving up 3 walks. Through his last 6 starts, 40 2/3 innings, there were only 4 total walks given up and only 1 in the last 2 games. He has also gone at least 7 innings in each of his last 4 starts going 8 in his most recent outing Tuesday night.
It seems as though John Lackey is getting stronger with each outing and I for one am more than OK with that. If we have truly not seen the best of John Lackey this season then it will only be a matter of time that we witness a complete game, a shutout, or dare I say, a no-hitter. Again I say I for one am OK with that.