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The Guru
Contributing Writer

One year ago, John Lackey was sitting on the sidelines nursing a surgically repaired shoulder, helplessly watching the Bobby V 93 loss Hindenberg disaster of a season go down in flames.

Lackey was also one of the bloated faces of the chicken and beer brigade that collapsed in 2011 and got manager Terry Francona chased out of Fenway.

Lackey's name was linked to other Red Sox high priced free agent pariahs that failed in Boston like Julio Lugo, Matt Clement and Carl Crawford.

There was not much John Lackey could do right and fans let him know it as he was booed mercilessly, ripped in social media and the calls into talk radio demanded he be shipped out of town for a bag of baseballs.

What a difference a year makes.

Last night the Fenway Faithful let him hear it again. They stood, cheered and chanted, "Lackey, Lackey" as the big right-hander tossed a complete game 2-hitter that helped the Red Sox clinch their first playoff berth since 2009.

The Lackey transformation has certainly been noticeable and it's part of the reason the Red Sox lead all of baseball with 93 wins. Manager John Farrell said,
"The remake of John Lackey, both physically and getting back on the mound and performing as he’s done all year, mirrors that of this team. It’s been a remake and it’s somewhat fitting to clinch a spot to get into the playoffs is with him on the mound. To go nine innings the way he did, like I said, very fitting.”

Lackey has emerged from the ashes as one of the Red Sox best pitchers this season. His 10-12 record doesn't reflect how good he has been this year. Lackey has a 3.44 ERA, 156 strikeouts in 183-1/3 innings, a 1.16 WHIP, he's allowed more than five earned runs only once and has two complete games.

It's Lackey's best season in over five years and the turnaround is so dramatic that it's hard to imagine a more deserving candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

What say you, Red Sox Lifer's?



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The Guru 9/20/2013 02:08:00 PM Edit
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