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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.