To say that John Lackey has been horrible for the sub-.500 Boston Red Sox this season would be a horrific understatement. As of Thursday, Lackey was toting a 2-5 record to go along with an 8.01 ERA. The right-hander has managed only 19 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched and opponents are hitting .317 against him. He may not be Greg Maddux, but he’s no Anthony Young either. Something is obviously wrong.
After his latest shellacking — a nine-hit, nine-run, five-walk meltdown against the Blue Jays Wednesday night — Lackey sat at the podium and fielded questions from the normally ruthless Boston media. The only problem for the writers is that it was too easy, making the interview almost uncomfortable.
“I’ll keeping working hard,” Lackey told the media Wednesday night via WEEI.com. “It’s got to turn sometime. Everything in my life sucks right now, to be honest with you.”
For a pitcher to be that candid about personal issues and let his emotions show about matters outside the game is extremely rare. Lackey took the blame for his outings. He tried to make sense about why his pitches have been sprayed all around ballparks across the American League. He made no excuses. But when he made it about something beyond the baseball diamond, it was tough not to feel bad for the normally resilient Texan. Some may view his comment as an excuse, but for a guy whose wife was battling breast cancer over the winter it would be unfair to jump to conclusions.
Whatever the personal issue may be that is bothering Lackey, it’s obvious it is affecting his performance on the field. For that reason, Terry Francona and the Red Sox need to find a way to get him on the DL. Lackey is understandably upset about the way he has pitched, but he’s obviously struggling with something bigger than the game to make a statement like “everything in my life sucks…” Bottom line: it’s time for the shelf.Google+