Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Posts Tagged ‘John Lackey sucks’

Red Sox make crucial mistake in parting ways with Francona

Posted by bdowd625 on October 1, 2011

We’re going to miss you, Tito.

I’ll start out by saying that I don’t think Terry Francona was always the best in-game manager. Some of his decisions on the field left me scratching my head, whether it be the insertion of a pinch runner for Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh inning or his extra-long leash when it came to leaving tiring starting pitchers in the game. But I think every fan feels that way about their manager at one point or another, and second-guessing is a part of the job that Francona has always understood.

With that in mind, I think the Boston Red Sox made a monumental mistake yesterday when they parted ways with Francona after eight very successful seasons. Francona’s greatest strength has always been his ability to protect his players in a rabid sports town, a quality I think many of the Red Sox took for granted after a while. Plain and simple, Boston took advantage of its manager this year, as high-priced prima donnas like Carl Crawford, John Lackey and, yes, even my boy Josh Beckett drove the team into the ground. Sure, Francona should share some of the blame for the team’s historic September collapse – no one gets a free pass in that regard – but it was evident that many of the Red Sox had given up on him and the season.

And so Francona became the fall guy yesterday after bringing Beantown not one, but two World Series titles in his tenure. He said his players were tuning him out and that he couldn’t get the team to move together in one direction. It’s a shame it had to come to this after all Francona has done here, but that’s how it works with these millionaire crybabies. You can’t fire 25 players, but you can fire the manager. Boston’s new leader certainly has his work cut out for himself – whomever it may be – and I find it hard to believe he’ll handle these players half as well as Francona did in his eight-year run. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, though, I want to thank Francona for all his hard work. He gave this fan base a reason to believe when we thought that elusive championship would never come. I can confidently say his place in Red Sox history is safe.

And now, with the Red Sox season over, I leave you with an excerpt from an essay by A. Bartlett Giamatti, former commissioner of Major League Baseball. If this doesn’t perfectly sum up the beauty of baseball then nothing does.

“The Green Fields of the Mind”

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the
spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer,
filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come,
it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to
buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive,
and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains
and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.


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Lackey loses control

Posted by Bill Koch on July 11, 2010

John Lackey

It’s time for John Lackey to stop hiding behind his 9-5 record.

It’s time for This Manager to stop insisting that Lackey competes well and gives the Boston Red Sox a chance to win every time he takes the mound.

It’s time to start thinking – and dreading – that we have to watch another 54 months of this overrated, overpaid, underperforming righthander with mediocre stuff and questionable character to match.

Lackey seemed to hit rock bottom in Boston’s 9-5 loss to Toronto on Saturday, but there’s no reason that he can’t get worse. He’s been in steady decline for at least three years, but that didn’t stop the Red Sox from handing him a ridiculous five-year, $82.5-million contract in the offseason. There was talk that Boston would have three aces with Lackey, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. That seems an insane idea at this point. In fact, Lackey’s wife remains the only reason that we’re glad to have him in Boston. We’ve said as much here at Ramble On since the day he signed with the Red Sox.

Yes, Lackey is 9-5 on the season. This Manager is electing to spin this toward the bottom line – wins and losses. He’s wrong as usual, because make no mistake about it – if Boston is fortunate enough to make the postseason, Lackey will be a loser in the postseason and beyond with these numbers. He is currently establishing new career worsts in just about every relevant pitching category including ERA (4.78), ERA+ (93), WHIP (1.60), hits per nine innings (10.8), walks per nine innings (3.7), strikeouts per nine innings (5.4) and strikeouts to walks ratio (1.48).

This isn’t exactly a new thing with Lackey. He’s been in decline ever since he made his lone All-Star team in 2007, and the numbers here prove it. He’s a two-pitch guy whose fastball is slowing down and becoming more hittable. His curveball rolls over the plate and can’t be considered a true out pitch at the Major League level. He’s never developed a change-up or any other reliable third pitch. He doesn’t have any options while trying to retire lefthanded hitters.

What we see now is a guy who begs home plate umpires for close pitches, whines at This Manager every time he’s taken out of a game and shows up his fielders when they fail to come up with a spectacular play to bail him out of trouble. Watch Lackey’s body language during his next start and you’ll see him do all of these things. It’s an insult to his fellow professionals and the Red Sox organization. He did the same thing in Anaheim and was indulged the whole time – this behavior isn’t changing anytime soon, and neither is Lackey’s very average stuff. We’ve got more than four years of dreadfulness to watch when he toes the rubber every fifth day.

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Posted by bdowd625 on June 24, 2010

It’s probably a little unfair to pin last night’s loss to the Colorado Rockies entirely on Jonathan Papelbon, but that ninth inning was absolutely brutal. Pap gave up two BOMBS, one to Ian Stewart – which is still orbiting the earth right now – and one to Red Sox killer and gold-thong aficionado Jason Giambi. Papelbon showed he was willing to get back to his splitter and slider earlier this season, but from what I can tell, those two fateful pitches last night were fastballs right down the dick.

It was an especially difficult loss because the Sox mounted one hell of a comeback against All-World starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald had huge nights to lead the Boston offense – who thought we would ever utter those words this season? – but John Lackey did his best John Burkett impression and allowed 17 more earned runs and about 36 hits. This guy sure hasn’t panned out yet and I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen. Maybe its time Krista Lackey starts showing up at the ballpark in nothing but Victoria’s Secret garments for good luck. A man can dream, can’t he?

I can’t complain this entire post, however, because the reality is that the Sox have played pretty damn good baseball during the last month. Even with last night’s loss, Boston is only 2.5 back of the Yankees and dead even with the Rays, who looked like they were going to run away with the American League East in late April. So I’m going to try to stay positive even though last night’s game was a major kick in the balls. Let’s hope everyone else out there can do the same.

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