John Lackey is not in a good place

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Before we get into this, I gotta say that the Boston Globe dropped the ball with their “Lackey shellacked” headline this morning.  Wouldn’t “shelLackeyed” have been way better?  What? Don’t look at me like that.

Anyway, John Lackey was simply terrible last night, going down to his third straight defeat after allowing nine runs on nine hits and five walks. He’s now 2-5 with an 8.01 earned run average and has struck out only 19 batters while walking 18.

But more troubling than his performance was his postgame demeanor. His quote — “everything in my life sucks right now” — was rather jarring. Even more jarring was reading in the Globe this morning that Lackey’s wife is fighting breast cancer, which is something I hadn’t seen back in the spring when it was apparently first reported. So, yeah, the pitching issues are not the biggest thing going on in his life at the moment.

A later quote — “I don’t know what the hell happened tonight. I threw the ball way better than last start. I don’t know … I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I don’t know” — makes you wonder if he should even be out there right now, because his head is clearly, and understandably, elsewhere.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.