John Lackey made his last scheduled start of the regular season Tuesday night. Lackey picked up the win in the 6-4 victory over the Pirates. With the Big Boy Games starting next week, unless Lackey pitches in relief this weekend in Cincinnati his next start will likely be Game 4 of the NLDS, if necessary, on Oct. 11.
Lackey was brought in to lengthen a starting staff that limped into and through the postseason a year ago. Lackey ($12.5 million salary in 2016) with the Cubs and was reunited with Jon Lester, David Ross and Joe Maddon.
John Lackey did his job on the mound and his post-game pressers became sound bites during the Cubs unforgettable season. Lackey had his moments on the field that rubbed some the wrong way. The Cubs and his teammates brushed off his antics as just Lackey Being Lackey.
Bottom line is that he produced and put the Cubs in position to win the game just about every time out. And that’s not easy to do over the course of a full season at the age of 37.
Outside of a couple of rough starts in April and a bad July in which the entire team played poorly, Lackey put up the numbers and even took one for the team, twice. Lackey got hot in the bullpen two times to pitch in extra innings games. Lackey wasn’t used in either game. He thinks those bullpens contributed to the strained right shoulder that landed him the DL. Lackey was 7-5 in 18 starts in the first half with a 3.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Lackey allowed 50 runs, 48 earned, on 93 hits with 36 walks and 120 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings.
Due to spending time on the DL, Lackey made 11 starts after the break and posted a 4-3 record with a 2.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
John Lackey was 11-8 in 29 starts with a 3.35 ERA, a career-low 1.05 WHIP and 3.81 FIP. Lackey completed 188 1/3 innings, just shy of 200 for the season, and allowed 74 runs, 70 earned, on 146 hits with 53 walks and 180 strikeouts … the most strikeouts in a single-season for Lackey in a decade. Lackey struck out 190 batters in 2006 for the Angels. And his 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings tied a career high that was set in 2005.
Lackey said Tuesday night that he honestly thinks this season was one of the better ones of his career. And according to ESPN Chicago, Lackey is happy with some sabermetric stats, “those numbers they made up in the last few years.” Lackey limited opponents to a career-low .646 OPS.
Now it’s time for country hardball and the Big Boy Games where John Lackey has shined throughout his career. Remember, he “didn’t come here for a haircut.” Lackey signed with the Cubs for jewelry.