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After his sixth straight start with at least seven innings and two runs or less, John Lackey has shown how well he can be when healthy in 2013. He did miss some time with a bicep injury, but has been a go-to starter in this rotation when the Boston Red Sox have needed him. So, why isn’t he on the All-star squad?
If you look at the numbers, his strikeout rate is up there with 93 Ks in 100 1/3 innings of work and has walked only 23 batters. He may be 7-6, but his impressive 2.78 ERA and 1.14 WHIP make up for the lack of run support. He is keeping batters to a .236 average. The thing that has hurt the veteran is the home run ball. He has allowed 14 homers in 16 starts.
There is one starter on the AL squad who Lackey should be there for and that pitcher is Justin Verlander. Verlander has struggled in 2013 with a 3.71 ERA and an 9-6 record. His WHIP is 1.39 and has walked 42 batters in 119 innings of work. His 122 strikeouts might give him an advantage, but Lackey has comeback from Tommy John surgery and is getting the job done at a very high level.
Also, Justin Masterson is a guy who Lackey could’ve replaced on the AL All-Star team. Masterson may have three complete-game shutouts, but his record stands at 10-7 with a 3.72 ERA. He has pitched 135 1/3 innings with 135 strikeouts, but still has a WHIP of 1.23 in his 20 starts for the Cleveland Indians.
Most analysts did not even think Lackey as a candidate to be a stud in the Red Sox rotation and right now he is pitching like a top-line starter in the AL. The 34-year-old has proved them all wrong and has even brought his velocity back up to 95-96 mph, which has helped him get batters off balance at the plate.
Sure, there are more deserving pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez, who made the team easily, but Jim Leyland should have looked at Lackey more closely as the All-Star game date drew near. Lackey has been one of the best starters over the past month and his record should be even better if he got even one or two runs more run support.
If another pitcher has to take the All-Star game off, then Lackey’s name should be thrown into the mix and be the one to go to the festivities in New York. He has battled back from a tough injury that had him miss over a year of playing time.