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Tag:John Lackey
Posted on: June 5, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: June 5, 2011 2:54 pm

On Deck: NL East aces look to stop losing streaks


By Matt Snyder

Skid Stoppers: The Phillies have lost four straight games, but still remain atop the NL East thanks to the Marlins having lost three straight. Each of the two squads have a pretty good shot to stop the bleeding Sunday, at least if you look at the starting pitchers. The Phillies send Roy Halladay (7-3, 2.56) to the hill at Pittsburgh while the Marlins are giving the ball to Anibal Sanchez (5-1, 2.57) against the Brewers. Halladay would be the ace on any team and Sanchez has become the ace of Florida with Josh Johnson sidelined. Halladay and Sanchez look to the play the role of stopper Sunday and the smart money is on each halting their teams' respective losing streaks. Milwaukee at Florida, 1:10 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING). Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING).

Lackey's Back: John Lackey has been sidelined since May 11 with a sore elbow, but will again toe the slab for the Red Sox Sunday afternoon. Lackey's been nothing short of dreadful this season for Boston, sporting an 8.01 ERA through 39 1/3 innings. Fortunately for him, he's facing the A's -- who have a pretty sub-par offense. One of his best outings of the season came against Oakland, too, back on April 19 when he went six innings and only gave up four hits and one earned run. The Red Sox likely won't extend Lackey, but he needs to be efficient and get as late into the game as possible, as they used seven pitchers in Saturday's 14-inning marathon. The A's are obviously in a similar situation with the taxed bullpen, and they'll send Brett Anderson (3-5, 3.68) to the hill. Last time Anderson faced the Red Sox, he threw eight shutout innings and took home the win. Oakland at Boston, 1:35 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING).

Indians Reeling: The Indians still sport the best record in baseball, but the hold is a bit more tenuous than it was a few weeks ago. The Tribe is actually 3-8 since May 24 and is in danger of its first four-game losing streak Sunday. In fact, the Indians haven't been swept in anything more than a two-game series this season, but a loss Sunday to the Rangers would mean a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers. The Indians haven't just been losing to the Rangers, either, they've been getting worked over -- having been outscored 22-6 in the first three games of the series. Things won't get any easier Sunday, as C.J. Wilson (5-3, 3.32) gets the ball for the Rangers. The Indians send Mitch Talbot to the hill. He was obliterated in his first start upon returning from the DL, but looked very solid last time out, going 6 2/3 innings and only allowing one run on May 31. Texas at Cleveland, 1:05 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING).

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:52 am

Pepper: Mets on verge of accepting ownership bid

By Evan Brunell

SO THE TIME HAS COME FOR A NEW OWNER: OK, so technically a new Mets minority owner, but the move could have lasting implications.

Sources say that former commodities trader Ray Bartoszek and investor Anthony Lanza have been chosen as the preferred bidders for the available stake in the Mets' franchise. The new owners will have a say in the team's finances and path forward, as incumbent owner Fred Wilpon has promised. And if Wilpon is forced to sell the team -- a distinct possibility -- it's likely that Bartoszek and Lanza will emerge as the new owners.

It's unclear how much stake the new owners will receive, but the cost is expected to be around $200 million for up to a 49 percent stake and a deal is extremely close. First, though, negotiations on whether the minority group can purchase a small stake in SportsNet New York has to be ironed out, but could be the necessary final piece for the deal as 49 percent may not be justifiable enough for $200 million given the Mets' debt problems.

Bartoszek previously headed up oil trading for the world's biggest commodity trader, Glencore International, while Lanza is an owner of Carriage House Partners, a private equity firm. (New York Post)

: Unsurprisingly, Carlos Beltran disagrees with Fred Wilpon's comments that he's 65-to-70 percent. "I'm 100 percent," Beltran said. And he's playing like it. (Newsday)

: Chone Figgins has been a shell of his former self since arriving in Seattle, but skipper Eric Wedge thinks things are getting better. "I feel like he's been a little bit more aggressive,'' Wedge said. "I feel like he's starting to make better contact. More firm." It's still way too early to think about Figgins finally delivering on his contract, but any step forward is positive. (Seattle Times)

: CC Sabathia hurled a complete game victory Tuesday, coming away with the win. It was his first complete game win since May 8, 2009... and also the first Yankees complete-game winner since. That's the longest streak in AL history for a stretch in-between complete-game wins at 341 games. (New York Daily News)

: Until Andrew Bailey returns, Grant Balfour will be the new closer in Oakland, replacing Brian Fuentes after the flap Fuentes created with his comments Tuesday. Too bad no one let Balfour know. (

ODDITY: Here's something interesting: Curtis Granderson has smacked 16 home runs and four triples, an impressive feat so far. But it's been all or nothing, as his four doubles pop out, a rare occurrence. After all, if you hit for power, you'll have your fair share of doubles. Granderson's doubles account for just one-sixth of his extra base hits, and only two other players in history have more extra-base hits than him with a similar 1/6 ratio of doubles: Mark McGwire in 2001 and Wes Covington in 1957. (Baseball Reference)

ONE MORE: Orioles starter Brian Matusz agrees that he needs one more rehab start, so will pitch for Triple-A on Friday. But after that, he's expected to push to return to the staff for a June 1 start, which will mark his season debut. (MASN Sports)

NEW DODGER: Top prospect Rubby De La Rosa received the call to the majors, surprising the Double-A starting pitcher, who will pitch in relief. While the Dodgers contend his future is in the rotation, de la Rosa was needed to shore up a bullpen besieged by injuries and ineffectiveness. De la Rosa has the talent to emerge as closer in L.A., and the team is still in the postseason hunt, so the promotion does make some sense. (Los Angeles Times)

YER OUTTA HERE! Ned Yost isn't going to get tossed from a game anytime soon -- unless he feels one of his players are being disrespected --  but that will change in coming years. "This is the time, with a young club, that you set the tone," Yost said. "I don't want these guys complaining and moaning. An umpire's call is an umpire's call and it doesn't get changed. It's doesn't do anybody any good to whine or cry about it. So, if I'm yelling, moaning and screaming on every call, naturally they're going to follow my lead. So it's important to me, right now, to accept the umpire's calls. ... But disrespect a player one time and I'm gone." Also in the link: Stories about how the Royals are trying to help those affected by the devastating Joplin, Mo. tornado. (

BRING IT IN: Is it time for the Padres to bring in the fences at Petco Park? Petco has become the anti-Coors Field, and even Coors is no longer an offensive haven thanks to the effects of the humidor. There appears to be a growing groundswell to fix Petco, and it would be as simple as moving the fences in. No one advocates making Petco a hitter's park, but moving the fences in would only even the playing field just a bit -- and that's all one needs. (Rob Neyer)

FIRST WIN: Alfredo Simon nailed his first win of the season thanks to an Adam Jones walk-off home run. A relieved Simon was thrilled after the game as it was his first win since last season. He has been dealing with a murder charge in his native country since the winter and still isn't out of the woods yet. (MASN Sports)

NEW GRIP: Dustin Moseley has been a nice piece of the Padres so far this year, but the righty can't sit on his laurels when there's more to be done. He tweaked his changeup, which earned positive results after Monday's game. (

PATROLLING THE OUTFIELD: Josh Hamilton believes he could start playing the outfield immediately but will be held back until this weekend, where he is expected to return to left field. Once he has several games under his belt, it's possible he could start seeing some time in center. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

BACK TO ACTION: Johan Santana finally stepped back on a mound for the first time since last season and threw 25 pitches. Santana is progressing nicely in his return from surgery and could rejoin the Mets in July. If he pitches strong down the stretch, he could be dealt after the year. (ESPN New York)

A NEW LOU: Lou is back in Chicago, and we're talking Montanez. The former Cubs first-round pick 11 years ago took a detour in Baltimore for four years, but wound up back with the Cubs this season in Triple-A. He finally reached the majors with his original club when tapped yesterday to replace Marlon Byrd on the roster. Montanez made the most of it, notching a RBI double in his first Cubs at-bat. (Chicago Sun-Times)

ON HIS WAY BACK: John Lackey pitched in a bullpen session Tuesday and came through with flying colors, setting him up for a rehab game on May 31 and a return to the Red Sox for June 5's start against the Athletics. (Boston Globe)

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 11:16 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 12:12 am

Red Sox get lefty Morales from Colorado

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Franklin MoralesThe Red Sox have added left-handed reliever Franklin Morales of the Rockies in echange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Morales, 25, is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 appearances this season.

Morales has also started 15 games in his big league career, but none since 2009. He was a starter throughout his minor league career until 2010, when he made 24 appearances in Triple-A as a reliever and another 15 relief appearances with Colorado. The Red Sox are currently desperate for starters, with John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list. The team also signed Kevin Millwood to a minor-league contract on Thursday.

Morales struck out 11 batters in 14 innings this season, while walking eight.

Boston designated Hideki Okajima for assignment to make room for Morales. 

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 11:57 pm

Lackey hits disabled list with elbow strain

By Matt Snyder

Struggling Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain. Lackey was expected to start Tuesday night -- and unveil a new windup -- but instead Tim Wakefield will be the Boston starter.

As a corresponding move, the Red Sox have promoted Scott Atchison from Triple-A Pawtucket. He has appeared in one game for the Red Sox this season, working 3 2/3 innings and allowing three earned runs. Last season, his first with Boston, he had a 4.50 ERA in 43 games.

Lackey, 32, has had a disastrous 2011 season to this point. He's 2-5 with an 8.01 ERA and 1.81 WHIP. He leads the AL with 35 earned runs in just 39 1/3 innings. Last year he was 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA.

Lackey's in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 16, 2011 1:12 pm

John Lackey tweaking windup to address woes

By Evan Brunell

LackeyWhen John Lackey takes the mound against the Orioles on Tuesday, he'll do so with a reconfigured windup that the Red Sox hope will address his command issues that have led to a 8.01 ERA start.

While Lackey is also struggling with velocity, his 4.12 walks per nine innings would be a career worst, as his previous high was 3.06 in 2005. Last season, Lackey checked in at 3.01; no other year has seen his rate higher than 3.00, so this is a concerning development for Lackey. Now, he'll return to keeping his hands by his hips instead of swinging his arms over his head. That windup was junked by Lackey a few years ago, and the Red Sox are wondering if the change caused his control to go haywire.

"Mechanically from his windup, instead of going over his head, he kept his hands down low," pitching coach Young told "[It] feels like he's had real good command that way. "Since he's done it before, I think he feels pretty comfortable -- and really just commanding his fastball."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:54 am

Lackey: 'Everything in my life sucks right now'

By Matt Snyder

After another awful outing on the hill, John Lackey might have revealed he has deeper problems than his pitching effectiveness.

At first, he sounded like a run-of-the-mill frustrated athlete forced to talk to media immediately after a bad performance.

“Everything went wrong that could go wrong,” he said. “It’s pretty much the story of the whole damn year.”

But then things sounded worse. Much worse, in fact, when given context.

“Everything in my life sucks right now, to be honest with you.” (Boston Herald)

Lackey's never really been the type of quote machine to believe this is a simple overreaction. In response to follow up questions to his last statement, Lackey reportedly just said he'd like his personal life to remain personal. The Boston Herald noted that during spring training Lackey told that his wife was fighting breast cancer and spent the offseason getting treatment. Lackey has not said a word on the subject since.

Last night, Eye on Baseball's Evan Brunell suggested the Red Sox find a reason to remove Lackey from the starting rotation (this was before the post-game interview happened, so it wasn't insensitive in the least). There are options concerning Lackey's comments after the game -- assuming it wasn't simply blowing off steam. The Dodgers placed Hong Chih-Kuo on the disabled list with anxiety disorder Wednesday. The Red Sox could find a similar label to throw on a leave of absence for Lackey.

And, really, if Lackey is having such deep-rooted personal demons, the last thing everyone should be worried about is what the Red Sox do with their starting rotation. The concern should be for Lackey and his family.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 12, 2011 2:27 am

3 up, 3 down: Batters rake pitchers over coals


By Evan Brunell

upAdam Dunn, White Sox
Eventually, Adam Dunn's going to come through, and it's going to be glorious for bleacher creatures at US Cellular Field. He began the process of snapping out of his funk with a 4-for-5 night, scoring three runs by banging a solo homer and walking. His overall numbers still aren't pretty, but once he explodes, people will suddenly see why the White Sox coveted him. His batting average vaulted from .184 to .213 in the process. Dunn's ChiSox won on the Angels' Kevin Jepsen throwing a wild pitch on an intentional ball, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Paul Konerko then made a fantastic game-ending play to end the game -- here's the video.

Starlin Castro, Cubs
-- Castro, who had never hit below one of the first three spots in the order before a recent demotion to the No. 7 spot in the lineup to snap a 2-for-25 slump, did so in fine fashion by rapping four hits, while scoring three and knocking an additional three in on the backing of a triple. It won't be much longer before Castro's back atop the order. It's hard to imagine Castro is only 21, but he's a beast at the plate and pretty soon, he'll start adding some home runs to his game. For now, the Cubs will enjoy his .324 batting average. All in all, it was a banner day for batters as all three entrants in 3 up handle sticks while the 3 down nominees are pitchers. (It must be said that Hiroki Kuroda had a brilliant performance, shutting down the Pirates in eight innings.)

Jason Bartlett, Padres -- This game is right out of 2009 as Bartlet rapped four hits in six trips to the plate, tacking on two steals, two runs scored and two RBI as the Padres pasted the Brewers 13-6. Cameron Maybin also went 4 for 6, and also scored two runs and RBI apiece. Bartlett's stolen base totals are now up to seven, an encouraging sign after only swiping 11 last season. The game only pushes him to .257/.317/.288 on the year, so the last-place Padres really need this to be the start of a hot streak.

downGio Gonzalez, Athletics -- Man, Gonzalez must feel like one lucky dude. A rain delay and later cancellation wiped out the stats from Wednesday's game against the Rangers. That means the lefty, who blew up in spectacular fashion in the third inning, sees his ERA return to 2.68 from 3.88 after coughing up seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings with six hits, one whiff and a lousy five strikeouts. Also scrubbed from the record is Mitch Moreland's first career grand slam for Texas. "One apology I want to make is to Mitch. Sorry, buddy. I'll definitely sign you over a check or something, whatever you want," Gonzalez told the Associated Press. "I got away with one and I admit it."

Ryan Franklin, Cardinals -- Are we seeing a career go up in smoke before our very eyes? Even the most die-hard Cubs fan couldn't have imagined Franklin bloating his ERA to an unfathomable 9.49 after coughing up four runs in three innings, giving up seven hits, although he did whiff two and walk none. Still, hitters are on the nose against Franklin, who has turned from division-winning closer to outright liability. He's already become a forgotten man in the bullpen; how much further behind is a release?

Matt Capps, Twins -- Yeah, it wasn't really a banner day for pitchers, was it? Capps grabs the final spot ahead of Randy Wolf by blowing a game in spectacular fashion. He was responsible for giving up all four runs that Detroit scored in the two final innings to roar back for its fifth consecutive victory. Only three got charged to Capps as he inherited a runner, but yeah, 1 1/3 innings of three runs is no good. He's still got a pretty firm grip on the closer's spot and just has to chalk it up to a bad day at the office.

Dishonorable mention
: John Lackey's terrible start and need to be removed from Boston's rotation is covered here.

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Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:50 am

Red Sox must remove John Lackey from rotation


By Evan Brunell

John Lackey's start Wednesday night can't help but leave a sour taste in your mouth. He was rocked for nine runs, with Rajai Davis creating havoc on the bases with four thefts. He gave up nine runs and could not spot the plate whatsoever, throwing just 64 of 118 pitches for strikes en route to free passes. He was fooling no one as he struck out just one and gave up a home run to John McDonald.

John Freaking McDonald.

At this point, Lackey is simply too much of a liability to stay in the rotation. His ERA is now an absurd 8.01 with a pathetic 1.81 WHIP. Sure, Lackey's been a bit unlucky with a high batting average on balls in play and low baserunner-strand rate, but it's not luck that's pushing these numbers; it's his ineffectiveness, period. Lackey had his struggles in 2010, but he's never been this bad.

The righty never saw his ERA creep higher than 5.63 last season, which came in his third start of the year. His season ERA only topped 5.00 two other times; driving the 5.63 mark down to 5.09 in his next start, then getting it down to 3.89 before topping out at 5.07 in a late May start before he was under for good and rode a solid second half to a season-closing mark of 4.40.

Yes, John Lackey is only beginning the second year of his ill-advised five year, $82.5 million pact (it was so ill-advised, I disliked it right from the start) but it's nigh time for a move. Whether that's Lackey being converted to the bullpen or hitting the disabled list with a phantom injury, who cares? Just get him out of the rotation.

Of course, that's not going to happen. Skipper Terry Francona, despite his moves this season in response to the club's poor start, is not one to lift "trusted veterans" from their role until it's so far past time to make a move, people have stopped caring. (Witness Kevin Millar in 2005.)

Look, Lackey is still an important pitcher that will have a (positive) impact on the team before the season is done with and should still throw up plenty of innings over the next four seasons as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but the Red Sox are now three games under .500 and can't seem to get any type of momentum going. It's time now not to worry about trust or regression to the mean. It's time to worry about putting the best product on the field, and Lackey is not part of that product.

There are two replacements that can step right into the rotation to replace Lackey in Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves. Wakefield has already made two spot starts and while he was shelled against the Twins, he performed well in the other versus Seattle (but who doesn't?). He has a 5.40 ERA in 23 1/3 starts and whiffed three in 1 1/3 innings after relieving Lackey. The other option is Alfredo Aceves, who is serving as long man in the rotation and already has a 4 2/3 inning relief stint to his name. It's hard to look past his 2.63 ERA on the year, cobbled together in 13 2/3 innings although his 7/5 K/BB ratio is less rosy. But it's quite a sight better than Lackeys' 19/18 ratio.

There are options down on the farm, too. Felix Doubront punched out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings on Monday in his recovery from an injury and could earn a promotion in a couple of weeks. Matt Fox, who had a late-year stint with the Red Sox in 2010 after coming over from the Twins, has impressed as well while Andrew Miller's control problems have yet to abate and isn't currently an option. Heck, I'm very close to suggesting Brandon Duckworth, of all people (3.67 ERA in six starts for Triple-A) as a more viable option than Lackey.

Lackey's not going anywhere, though. At least, not yet. The first change that will happen is likely Jason Varitek adding Lackey to his ledger, which will push Jarrod Saltalamacchia down to just catching Jon Lester. The team will want to see if Varitek's influence can calm Lackey down, who was unacceptable in his actions Wednesday night, showing up his fielders when they dared make one small mistake. While it's understandable how frustrated Lackey was, you just don't show up your teammates like that, especially when it's your own fault your brain is being beat in.

Lackey's next start is slated for next Tuesday at home against the Orioles and Zach Britton. Expect him to make that start with Varitek behind the dish, but the result is likely to only reinforce the notion that it's time for John Lackey to simply go away for a little while.

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Category: MLB
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