Sunday, August 8, 2010

John Patrick Lackey

"Made a lot of good pitches. They kind of nickel-and-dimed me to death on that one...I made some good pitches, and had several balls kind of just out of reach. You can do what you can do. I executed pitches in that fifth inning. Just didn't have a lot to show for it."

Congratulations, John Lackey. You joined the Patrick club, an exclusive club honoring Ian Patrick Kennedy and other players who are in denial that they suck.

The guy imploded in the fifth inning Saturday afternoon. Very much like many other games all season. Look, I understand that balls in play are going to sometimes sneak through. But if they're good pitches, they are more difficult to a) put in play or b) hit hard through the infield. The Yankees obviously watched some John Lackey tape and realized that you don't have to "go big" against him. All you gotta do is wait for a pitch and hit it where nobody can get it. He's not an overwhelming power/strikeout pitcher anymore, and he hasn't been for a long time. The way to beat John Lackey is to put together a game plan to "nickel and dime" him.

John Farrell and Lackey have the responsibility to find some way to start missing bats again. Because he's not doing it. Yes, for the past several years, the guy has given up a lot of hits. But against lineups that don't suck, as we've already said, you have to start missing bats.

You also have to stop walking people. Surrendering three walks over the course of six at-bats is not acceptable behavior. Maybe you can get away with it against the Seattle Mariners, but not the Yankees. Not any team that can hit and not squander opportunities with great frequency. If you walk people in the AL East, you are going to have an ERA of four and a half and pretty much be the equivalent of setting $12,000,000 in cash on fire.

The media is crushing Lackey all over the place after Saturday, and they have brought the aggregate of his season into the picture. Completely fair and a completely appropriate time to do it, ESPECIALLY because the way he lost Saturday is the same way he's been getting lit up all season. Only difference is, he didn't get the typical 8-runs of support like he's happened to get all season. I identified Lackey as a player who had to step up the second half of the season. He's been better...kind of. ERA and WHIP are lower. These probably have a lot to do with the one start when he took the non-shutout no-hitter into the late innings. Lackey's still walking quite a few, and he's been wildly inconsistent in his two August starts, a loss to a team that can hit and a loss to a team that can't hit. Bottom line: He's been the same guy we've seen all year. This is not the guy from Anaheim. This is not $12 million worth of production.

The fact that he thinks he's pitching well is a huge concern.

I have a lot more to say about this series, especially as Beckett got shelled today and as I looked at some especially-interesting numbers tonight. Not to worry--I'll be writing all week for the next two weeks. Pat's taking an extended JDcation. Not sure where he's going - might be Arizona to rehab his ribs.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

The Sox had a great opportunity this weekend to make something happen. They won the game Friday, had two guys (Beckett and Lackey) who are supposed to be big game pitchers scheduled to go, and were fortunate enough to have a rookie spot starter take the ball on an emergency basis last night.

And then nobody showed up to play. The offense managed four runs in 18 innings. Lackey and Beckett gave up way, way too many hits to even think about saying they pitched any way other than awful. The defense was, to put it mildly, sloppy.

Look, we all know the Yankees are a great team. But for the Red Sox to not even bother checking in on Saturday and Sunday, a set of games they really needed to at least split if they wanted to take advantage of the Rays sloppy play of late, was embarrassing. They just didn't have any fight in them over the weekend and the tone for that was set by some extremely poor starting pitching.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

Nobody showed up is a good way to put it. It's getting pretty obvious that the ironman 46's baseball IQ is about zero the way he took another fastball right down the middle for strike three after two identical pitches slightly inside. That was probably the most enfuriating at-bat of the game, especially considering he has one hit in 30 at-bats since April 11th. Ortiz's weak ground ball to second with the bases loaded and Drew's eighth ground ball to the right side in August (the 3-6-3 double play) further made Dustin Moseley look like Brandon freaking Morrow yesterday.

Beckett is such a big-game player. Forget the last five seasons - he beat the Yankees in 2003!!!!1

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

I think we need to cut this team some slack since they've been hit with such an unprecedented amount of injuries this year. I haven't seen that much carnage on TV since the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan when they are storming the beach. You are really off base with that comment. You better lock it up before I take away your Red Sox fan license.

PF,

What a pleasure to see Jeter pass Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list last night. He is such a class act. But by far the best part was fact that he didn't even know about it until a few days ago. Why? Because Derek Jeter is not focused on individual achievement. He's only focused on one thing: winning championships.

DV,

Congrats. After years of work you've finally gotten the Gunn to join you in negative town. Things could be worse though- we are only 4.5 games back of the Rays.

However, 46 is a perfect example of why it's better to build a team with established players as opposed to worrying about developing prospects. If we had shipped his ass out of town a while ago, we could have kept Coco and gotten some return.

the gm at work said...

Anonymous (Bandi?),

The Red Sox have inspired the Gunn to join Negative Town, not me. Second-highest OPS.

I'm not even sure if the pro-Coco comment was sarcastic or not. Bottom line is that Coco could have given marginally better production than 46 this year.

Tampa's in some serious trouble if both Niemann and Price are having arm troubles. This Red Sox team may indeed die by injuries, but may also live by injuries.

TimC said...

The long-term concern here is that with Lackey looking like he's done as a difference maker the Sox are now locked into two young rising stars, an inconsistent American, an inconsistent Japanese, and this $16 million lump of wood in the starting rotation. How can the team expect to continue to develop players like Buch and Lester when the rotation spots are locked down like this?

Anonymous said...

DV

I think Bandi's comment about Ellsbury was serious and there's a lot of validity to that. In hindsight, had they traded him in 2007/08 he would have been able to bring a legitimate haul in return. Now? Christ, he probably gets swapped for Melky Cabrera straight up.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Obviously I was being somewhat sarcastic on the 46/Coco point, but I do think that at times organizations should take advantage of the fact that their existing young players/prospects are overhyped.

Obviously we all used to think more highly of Ellsbury than we do now, but I was never under the impression that he was ever going to be as good as Johny Damon. With that said, the overall hype around Ellsbury was that had a chance to be a "special player." Clearly, someone with a lesser tool set than Damon is not "special." All I'm saying is that it can be good to take advantage of that situation. I'm not actually advocating trading all your prospects away just because they are unknowns.

jason said...

on another note getcha popcorn ready for the cardinals series with the reds