Tagged: Phil Mickelson

The Curious Case of John Lackey

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Physically he's fine. Mentally though, he's just not there.

3.1 innings, four hits, five earned runs, four walks, one home run (Will Venable’s first of the year), a wild pitch, two hit batters, and a big “L” in the loss column. How is it that a man can have those stats against the team that scores the least runs per game? Yet, he can pitch eight “solid” (four earned runs) innings against the N.L. Central leading Brewers.

Maybe, physically something is wrong. He did go on the D.L. on May 17th due to a right elbow strain.

However, manager Terry Francona said, “He’s more than willing to pitch through anything. He said he’s pitched through this before, and worse. But it’s May, not September. If we don’t do something now it might not get better. We talked with the medical staff. I don’t think he’s too happy about it. He’s such a competitor. But it’s the right thing to do.”

The fact that Lackey was willing to pitch through it shows that the injury was relatively minor. A big factor in Lackey’s most recent poor outing was definitely the weather though. The game had a total of four rain delays and two while Lackey was still in.

Catcher Jason Varitek said, “With the delay, it might have shown more maybe in the second inning after he sat down. It looked like he couldn’t get as loose, then once he did, it was pretty wet. It was wet and it was obvious that he was loosing some feel. There was a fastball that shot away from him, some changeups. Couldn’t quite figure out what was the best pitch to get him in the zone with in that situation. It’s a tough one for him to have to wear because he has been throwing the ball well. It was sloppy out there. It was even hard for me to throw balls back to the mound. It was that entire game.”

But, the weather on Wednesday doesn’t fully explain his 7.26 ERA. Maybe something bigger than the game of baseball is affecting Lackey. I think Chris Jones best explained it when he said, “His wife, Krista, has been fighting breast cancer. And now his right arm had failed him, too.”

When Tiger Woods went on his, “leave of absence,” many wondered why Phil Mickelson didn’t go on a tear and start racking up wins. Mickelson’s mother and wife were both fighting breast cancer.

One in two men will get cancer and one in three women will get cancer. It just so happens that his wife is one of those one in three women. When Lackey is pitching it seems to me like his body is on the pitching mound, but his mind is with his wife, wherever she may be.

Lackey is the eighth highest paid pitcher in baseball and signed a five year, $82.5 million contract on December 16, 2009. In Lackey’s last five starts against the Blue Jays, the A’s, the Blue Jays again, the Brewers, and the Padres, Lackey has an ERA of 7.89 with thirteen walks, twenty strikeouts, a record of three and two, and a whip of 1.51.

On the season Lackey is five and six, with a 7.36 ERA, a WHIP of 1.60, has given up eight home runs, and has struck out 38.

For more read the following articles by Chris Jones and Alex Speier.

Photo Credit

Lackey: http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0819/bos_a_lackey_b1_300.jpg

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