Red Sox fans certainly weren’t shocked last night when John Lackey couldn’t get through five innings with 11 runs of support, but Lackey himself seemed plenty surprised:
I can’t explain it, man. That’s the best I’ve felt in the bullpen warming up all year. I don’t know what the hell happened. The first inning, I was definitely missing some locations, probably overthrowing it a little bit because I felt pretty good. After that, I mean, you’re going to have to go back and look at some of those pitches and look at what happened. Don’t just look at the line score.
I’m sure Lackey is incredibly frustrated about his season, but for a guy with a 6.49 ERA to say “don’t just look at the line score” after his 27th start of the year and suggest he was “overthrowing it a little bit because I felt pretty good” is tough to get behind, especially considering he stared down Terry Francona when the manager mercifully yanked him from the game while the Red Sox still had a lead.
Yesterday was the sixth time he’s failed to make it out of the fifth inning and the seventh time he’s allowed six or more runs, so how Lackey felt warming up in the bullpen probably doesn’t mean much at this point.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.