Farrell on Lackey

When the name John Lackey was mentioned in the past two years, most Sox fans responded with an expletive. But in an article by Alex Speier on the WEEI.com Blog Network, new manager John Farrell expresses hope. Farrell, who was Lackey's coach in 2010, states: "(I) got a close view into the fact that the pitcher who was making his transition to Boston was unable to perform at the same consistently excellent level he'd achieved with the Angels to that point in his career." Still, the year Lackey spent under Farrell's tutelage was average, but not terrible. He went 10-5 with a 4.26 ERA during the first half of the season but faded to 14-11 and 4.40. He did, however, pitch 215 innings.
After that season, Farrell became manager of the Blue Jays and was replaced by Curt Young. 2011 was by far the righthander's worst in his 11-year career. In his first seven starts, he was 2-5 with an astronomical 8.01 ERA. After spending some time on the DL with an elbow strain, he came back and finished only marginally better. His 12-12 mark belies the fact that his final ERA was over 6 and his WHIP 1.62, both career worsts. The 114 runs he allowed were the most in the AL and the highest in team history for a starter with at least 150 innings pitched. The chicken-and-beer incident made Lackey a pariah in the eyes of many fans, though there is no evidence that he was the ringleader.
After that season, GM Ben Cherington announced that Lackey had had Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire 2012 season. His absence probably spared his from considerable booing, as the Sox pitching situation became chaotic. Bob McClure, the team's third pitching coach in three years, was fired in August, reportedly because of run-ins with manager Bobby Valentine.
On WEEI's Red Sox Hot Stove Show, Farrell, who has visited a number of players, was very upbeat: "He looks great. I think when people see him for the first time, they'll probably be surprised about how he reshaped his body. He probably dropped 12 to 15 pounds. I had a chance to watch him throw. His arm was loose. He was upbeat, looking forward to putting Tommy John and some of those recent experiences behind him…I really think there's a different side of John Lackey than what has been seen. I'm not making any excuses about what happened in the past, but the best thing John can do is go out and pitch as he's capable."
As Nick Cafardo wriote in his Sunday Baseball column, we need to give Lackey another chance. And he needs to give everyone-fans media, teammates- one too.

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