How would you grade John Lackey’s performance this season? Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is on a historic pace and for the Red Sox to win tonight, John Lackey has to step up. Tony Massarotti doesn’t think Lackey has given the Sox nearly enough this year, and says that if the Sox hope to beat Jimenez tonight, Lackey has to earn his money. Also, Troy Renck of the Denver Post called in to talk about Jimenez.
Tony Mazz on tonight’s game, “Tonight, you’re going up against a guy who’s been the best pitcher in baseball this season hands down in Ubaldo Jimenez. 13-1, 1.15 ERA. You don’t beat good pitching with good offense. You beat good pitching with better pitching. And to me, this is a game where John Lackey has to earn his money. This is a game where John Lackey has to come out and earn the $16.5 million annually that the Red Sox are paying him. This is why they brought him here: to win games like this. His ERA is 4.53. That is about a quarter of a run above the league average”.
Tony is not doubting John Lackey’s mental toughness. In 2002, Lackey started and won a game 7 in the World Series for the Anaheim Angels as a rookie. Tony just wonders about the competition he faced his whole career in the AL West.
Tony on Lackey’s transition to the AL East, “The thing I worry about is he has spent his whole career in the American League West. With unbalanced scheduling, you’re going to pitch almost 50% of your games, in theory, in the division. That means he’s been pitching against Seattle, Oakland, and Texas. Now you come to the American League East and you’re seeing the Yankees, you’re seeing the Rays. His career record against New York wasn’t great and his career record against Boston wasn’t great. So it does make you wonder ‘Did this guy pad his numbers a little bit against bad competition out there?'”.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post called into the show today to talk to Mazz about Ubaldo Jimenez. Here’s the scouting report on Jimenez.
Troy Renck on Jimenez, “He is a guy who can throw 98-100 [mph] all the way into the 8th or 9th inning with a sinker, which makes him different. The first guy I’ve seen do that since Kevin Brown back with the Marlins and Padres. He has a good changeup at 88-90 [mph], he has a curveball that he’ll drop down into 70 mph. He also has a tighter one, he has a slider”.
The Red Sox haven’t lost a series since the middle of May and if they hope to keep that up, John Lackey has to rise to the occasion tonight as he faces the best pitcher in baseball this year bar none. The game will start 8:40 p.m. ET.