John Lackey has certainly pitched poorly enough with the Red Sox that fans and media members would be extremely tough on him anyway, but he also didn’t help matters in last night’s postgame dealings with reporters.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe describes the scene, which started with Lackey replying “I don’t know, you guys are going to write what you want to write, whatever” to a question about gripping his pitches:
And that was that after 15 seconds of uncomfortable silence. The entire press conference lasted about 90 seconds. … None of those questions were antagonistic. To be honest, they were pretty much softballs. Answering questions in that fashion will only serve to make a tough season even harder on him. …
Lackey has 3.5 years left on his contract and they’re going to be brutal ones if he can’t come to grips with the atmosphere here. Whether it’s a teammate, his pitching coach, his manager or even Theo Epstein, somebody needs to get through to Lackey. This is headed down a road nobody wants to be on, least of all him.
Abraham also notes that Lackey chose to sign with the Red Sox as a free agent, presumably knowing what the media scrutiny in Boston is like to some degree. He obviously didn’t expect to begin his Red Sox career with a 5.06 ERA through 44 starts and I’m sure most people would react similarly if questioned about their poor job performance on a daily basis, but then again answering questions from reporters is part of what he signed up for to get $82.5 million for five years and he certainly hasn’t earned that money on the field so far.
Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.
Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.
Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.
In late August, when everyone started looking at the schedule in an effort to see who had the easiest road ahead of them to the playoffs, the Tigers stood out as particularly blessed. The end of their season featured several games against the lonely Twins and, if things were tight heading into the final weekend, a three-game series against the lowly Braves.
Problem: the Braves have not been very lowly lately, and that could cause the Tigers all kinds of grief.
Atlanta has won 10 of 11 games. They’ve scored 66 runs in those games and their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.28 over that span. Oh, and remember how, earlier in the season, the Braves were hitting like a deadball era team, being outhomered by multiple individual players? Well, they’ve hit ten during this neat little run. Really, though, the run isn’t that little. They’ve won 19 of 30 and have been a solid team, offensively speaking, since late July. They’re hot as heck now and haven’t been pushovers for some time.
So enter the Tigers, who have been seesawing through August and September and who have to play in Atlanta this weekend without their DH, Victor Martinez. Oh, and who stand a halfway decent chance of having to fly out of Atlanta Sunday evening for a makeup game in Detroit that could then cause them to play a tiebreaker game in Toronto or Baltimore which could then have them travel to the other city for a Wild Card game. And that’s if things break decently.
If they break poorly? It’ll be a long, season-closing flight home from Atlanta. A city that was supposed to provide respite for them when it first appeared on the schedule.