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John Lackey is sitting at 8-12 after a 3-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon. He went 7.1 innings of work while giving up three runs on seven hits, one walk and striking out five. It was his fourth straight quality start and has quality outings in six of his last seven outings.
Though his record may not show it, the 34-year-old has been one of the most consistent starters in the Boston Red Sox’ rotation. He has compiled a low of 3.11 ERA for the current five-man rotation while only missing three weeks with a biceps injury. He has fared well most of the season, but has a record of 1-4 over his last seven starts.
The right-handed starter has not really received the best offense behind him when he starts. Since the All-Star break, the Red Sox have averaged about two runs per start with 20 runs in nine games started. Over the whole season, the Red Sox have scored zero runs in 11 games and Lackey has started in six of those. His 3.77 runs per nine innings is lowest on the team and now has a team-high 18 quality starts.
Lackey may not be getting the runs he deserves, but has made it a point this season to be a reliable arm in the rotation and has been that for almost 75 percent of the season. The Red Sox went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left eight men on base. A couple of base hits with those runners on may have gave Lackey some run support, but, even with the lack of runs, he still goes out there every start to get the job done.
Even at 34, Lackey looks like a pitcher who just goes start to start with the “ace” mentality. He throws the ball with conviction and has baffled hitters with his curveball and his fastball has gone back up to 95-96 m.p.h. from 92-94 in 2011. In 2010, he finished with a 4.40 ERA and a 14-11, but he also got a much better run support behind him on a nightly basis.
With a 3.2 WAR and a career-low 1.17 WHIP and second-lowest ERA since his Cy Young season in3.01 ERA in 2007, Lackey has solidified this rotation in should be either the first or second starter for the Red Sox come the postseason. Hopefully, the Red Sox start to awaken the bats for him before then.