BOSTON (CBS) – John Lackey just keeps on rolling and performing at a high level through the first two games of 2014.
Through his two starts, Lackey is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, a WHIP of 0.85, 11 strikeouts and three walks. Because Lackey missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, Lackey is only due $500,000 on a team option in 2015 — a steal with the way he’s been performing over the last year.
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy joined Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak on Thursday to talk about Lackey and if he was deserving of a new contract.
Gresh sees Lackey as having redeemed himself, proving that he’s a guy that can be a great pitcher and one that is back in the good graces of Red Sox fans.
“He has pitched with guts. He has pitched with some guile. … This is a guy who has done a complete 180. … He has completely turned it around and gotten everyone, if not back on board, to at least stop hammering him for what happened a couple years ago,” Gresh said in reference to in the infamous chicken & beer scandal.
Shaughnessy has always viewed Lackey as a guy that is well respected going back to his days in Anaheim. Despite his tendencies that sometimes rub the media and fans the wrong way, Lackey’s teammates accept him for who he is.
“This was always a guy that the other players always liked and saw as some sort of a role model,” Shaughnessy said. “The clubhouse guys liked having him around. He was a good teammate. He had that weird stuff on the mound; he would show up teammates and balls going by him. That was him, they seemed to accept that.
“Obviously, evidence that if you perform and play well and keep your mouth shut, people love you. … People just decided that they were down on him because he was overpaid, he was under-performing, made antics on the mound. … People want them to win and he was a big part of that.”
Zo, being a former professional player who understands the dynamics of a locker room, sees Lackey’s willingness to tough it out in 2011 as the reason he gets so much respect from his teammates.
“You know the guy will go out there and sell himself down for you,” Zo said. “He’ll do everything he can, even when he was hurt, when he won 14 games, he was, what, 14-11? Still found a way to try and get to six innings, even though it might be 5 2/3. But it felt like a toothache and he hated the press conferences. But for whatever reason, that goes a long way for guys in that clubhouse and that locker room.”
Listen below for the full discussion: