09 February 2011
Make your predictions for other Red Sox players - just click on a name below!
Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP
John Lackey, SPLackey's first year in Boston didn't go as hoped. I give him credit for making 33 starts while his teammates were dropping like flies, but the 4.40 ERA was tough to swallow and the .765 OPS against was his worst mark since 2004 thanks to a career high 233 hits allowed.
Coincidentally, he also posted the same 6.53 K/9 rate he tallied in 2004... a season in which we went 14-13 in 32 starts. Are you seeing the pattern yet...?
In short, Lackey didn't fool many batters last season. One could argue that he saw more patient hitters than he did in the AL West, but I wanted to see for myself how relevant that theory really was... and, to my chagrin, it has merit.
In 2010 Lackey started 3 games against the Yankees (OBP, 1st / BB, 2nd) and 4 against the Rays (OBP 10th / BB 1st). He also started games against the Twins, Tigers and Rangers - giving him 10 starts against teams that ranked in the Top 10 in OBP.
In 2009, the Yankees ranked first in OBP and walks, the Red Sox ranked 2nd in OB and 3rd in walks, and the Rays ranked 7th in OBP and 4th in walks... but he only had to face each of those teams once, while starting 11 games against the A's, Rangers and Mariners. The A's ranked 21st/22nd... the Rangers were 24th/26th... and the Mariners were 29th/29th.
Bottom Line: I can't help feeling that this is a lame excuse for Lackey's mediocrity in 2010, but frequently facing impatient hitters in years past definitely enabled Lackey to average 7+ Ks per 9 innings, while keeping his BAA around .250 and his walk totals in check.
His first year in the AL East resulted in a drop in Ks (6.53 K/9), a significant jump in BAA (.274) and a career high in walks (72), so the move east had an effect on his 2010 stats. The question is: Can Lackey adjust?
I'm not sure that he can...
Last year he threw the fastball as often as he always has and he continues to throw it as 90-91 MPH. If he tries to get more aggressive, he's likely to get tattooed. At his age, he'll probably have to get more creative. During his best years in LA, his curveball was his best pitch, but he struggled with it in 2010. Maybe our new pitching coach can help Lackey get the snap back in the curve and teach him to mix his pitches a little better.
Rob's Prediction: 32 GS, 206 IP, 15-10, 4.10 ERA, 160 K
* Special Category: Hits Allowed - 208
Share this post with your friends on Facebook and challenge them to make a prediction!
|< Prev||Next >|