Was it really a surprise that John Lackey wasn’t able to overcome a thirty-eight minute rain delay and handle the worst offense in the National League? More importantly, was there anyone out there who didn’t wager during the delay that Lackey would come back and immediately issue a four-pitch walk? That was free money for the taking.
So we got another puny and gutless performance from Senor Lackey this afternoon. Hardly sharp before the delay, Lackey came back onto the field after play resumed and simply crumbled. Here is the sequencing for those who missed the car wreck: four-pitch walk. Hit batter. Bunt single. Strikeout. Walks in run. Hits Bartlett to score another. Wild Pitch scores a third run. And a Single to right scores a fourth. FOUR RUNS ON ONE HIT! Sayonara Johnny.
Surely, John’s post-game comments will be chalk full of excuses. He’ll talk about not being able to get a grip and the moisture and the delays. Maybe he’ll add something about his problems at home. You can’t rule out some mention of a health issue. On the board at 5-1 is the possibility he will bring up “The Killing” and how the finale really screwed with his between-start routine. And this is a real longshot, but I just bet two chips that he links today’s outing to the passing of either Clarence Clemons or that jackass from Jackass.
In Lackey’s defense, the conditions today at Fenway were pretty crappy, particularly after the delay. But I can’t offer total absolution because Lackey’s performance in the fourth inning was particularly puny and particularly gutless. Yes, it was raining. And the conditions weren’t great. But rather than show grit and focus, Lackey wilted and then quit. Hopelessly over-matched when pitted against some precipitation.
This should have surprised nobody because one of many things that Lackey has proven since coming to Boston is the following: HE CAN’T PITCH THROUGH ADVERSITY. When the competition is soft and he gets a clean trip, he can be serviceable. But the second he gets bumped, he is vulnerable to a collapse. Today he got bumped. And then he collapsed. Really just par for the course when it comes to John Lackey.