Felger & Mazz: Al Leiter On Lackey’s Struggles, ‘I’ve Been There’
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Felger started out by asking Leiter what he thought about the predicament the Red Sox face in finding playing time for Big Papi on this upcoming 9 game road trip in National League parks. Leiter stated that he agreed with the tandem’s notion that Adrian Gonzalez has to stay at first base, rather than play a few games in right to free up first base for Papi, pointing out that PNC Park in Pittsburgh “has a lot of ground to cover” for someone (Gonzalez) who has played just one MLB game in right in his entire professional career.
Massarotti continued to question Leiter on his thoughts about interleague. Leiter said he believes that it’s really only the “natural rivals” that creates excitement for fans and he would definitely cut down on the length of interleague play.
Felger returned to the Gonzalez/Ortiz dilemma, asking him whether its practical to sit Big Papi for 9 straight games. Leiter was not entirely sure but did explain that his Blue Jays in the ’93 World Series had to deal with a similar issue. He sounded confident that he “wouldn’t be surprised if Tito (Terry Francona) did something creative.”
The guys moved on to discuss John Lackey and his sub-par performance so far in Boston. Leiter admitted that he and all pitchers go through this type of stretch for a month or handful of starts, saying “I’ve been there.” Felger brought up the idea that perhaps the difference between a Boston sports market and a SoCal sports market is affecting Lackey. Leiter unequivocally responded, “absolutely, without a doubt,” but did maintain that Lackey has to find a way to “make pitches.”