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Posts Tagged ‘John Lackey’

Before Spring Training, Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman labeled the Boston Red Sox as the team to beat. In September, everyone who played them seemed to agree.

In the past, Red Sox fans could blame misfortune on the Curse of the Bambino.

Thanks to a 7-20 record down the stretch, the Red Sox blew a nine game advantage over the Rays in the standings, thereby authoring the “greatest” final month collapse by any team in baseball history.  Since the fabled sale of Babe Ruth in 1919, such disappointment has been an integral part of life in Red Sox nation. From the Babe to Bucky to Buckner and Boone, the Red Sox have regularly been on the short-end of many historic moments. Now, you can add Baltimore to that list.

Of course, before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, all of the team’s most tragic moments could be explained away by the Curse of the Bambino. That one catchall was the perfect way for Red Sox fans to both retain their passion and their sanity. Because Boston has won two World Series since then, however, that security blanket has been stripped away. So, as Red Sox Nation begins to deal with the aftermath of the team’s September to misremember, below are a few suggestions for a new curse that the Fenway faithful can use once they are done with the four letter ones.

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Maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side? While Yankees’ fans have been lamenting the historically poor performance of A.J. Burnett, Red Sox Nation has been home to an even bigger bust, both in terms of performance on the field and zeros on the pay check.

Following his latest meltdown against the Texas Rangers, John Lackey’s ERA ballooned above the six run level, placing him dead last (by over seven-tenths of a run) among all qualifiers in 2011. On a more historic scale, Lackey’s ERA+ of 68 ranks as the 65th worst rate compiled by a pitcher with at least 140 innings since 1901. In other words, Lackey hasn’t just been bad; he’s been down right terrible. Somewhere, Francisco Cervelli is clapping his hands very loudly.

Adding insult to injury from the Red Sox’ point of view is Lackey’s contract, which calls for the ornery right hander to receive $46 million over the next three seasons. By comparison, AJ Burnett only has two years remaining at $33 million, so financially speaking at least, the Yankees are in much better shape. That’s nothing to get too excited about, but in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, even small victories warrant a round of applause.

Tale of the Tape: AJ Burnett vs. John Lackey
 
*aWAR = fWAR + bWAR/2
Source: baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com

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