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Does John Lackey Have What it Takes to Play in Boston?

Written by Jill Boucher
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Walking into yesterday’s game against the Padres, John Lackey had a 7.02 ERA. He also had the pressure of the media and an entire fan-base begging for a decent performance. His colorful and dramatic outings this year have left Red Sox fans questioning Theo Epstein’s decision to sign Lackey back in 2009 for $82.5 million. After a leadoff homer, it was another typical Lackey start.

  Has he given up? Certainty he has professed his personal life issues are taking a toll on him. Lackey falls under the top five worst signings for Epstein.
With so many rain-delays in yesterday’s ballgame, Lackey could have used any number of excuses to justify his all too familiar poor outing. Let’s face it, he is a man that has a reason behind every poor pitch and an excuse behind every loss, so this should have been another typical post-game press conference. It wasn’t.

     When asked by a writer about the difficulty to grip the ball in the fourth inning, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, Lackey could have answered the question in any number of ways. This was the perfect outlet for him to excuse himself and play victim to the weather and not acknowledge his inability to perform.

    “I don't know. You guys are going to write what you want to write. Whatever,” said Lackey.
      Just say yes. Say that the weather did make it hard to get a feel for the ball. By doing so, some, albeit not many, would have excused this outing, He was also asked about the leadoff home run, which quickly put the Red Sox behind.
      “It wasn't a great pitch. It was a cutter I left over the plate, for sure. You know, leadoff hitter. What are you going to do?”

 What are you going to do? How about put movement on the ball or not throw a meatball over the plate? Maybe pitch with emotion, just half of the emotion the guys behind you are playing with. The difference between Lackey and others such as Pedroia, is that Lackey does not live or die by every loss. It’s just another game.
He doesn’t have the spark to play or the desire to win. He is emotionless on and off the field. In just under two years, Lackey is 19-17, certainty not proving to be an intricate part of the rotation or team. It looks like the white flag has been thrown.


0 Jeremy 2011-06-23 12:55 #1
It's harder for a pitcher to act like position players such as Pedroia. It's a pitcher's job to stay as even keel as possible while in a game.I agree something may be missing in his competitive fire. With the Angels he was always the guy teams hated to face. He was the ultimate competitor, but even then he rarely showed emotion on the mound. It's what a pitcher has to do. A pitcher has the control of the game in his hands. He can't be screaming after every strikeout. If you look at the highlights he does show his frustration after he walked something like 5 batters in a row.

Just saying, it's hard to say that a professional athlete has lost the desire to win. They are very driven people, especially players like Lackey who used to be big-game pitchers. Pitchers always have the desire to win, especially if they are on a good team because it reflects in their stats.

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