John Lackey: 'This is about as good as I've ever pitched'

DJ Bean
September 02, 2013 - 2:21 pm
John Lackey doesn't think he's ever pitched better, which is unfortunate because it's coming at a time when his run support couldn't be worse. Lackey pitched into the eighth inning for the third straight start Monday, but the three runs he allowed were three too many as the Sox took a 3-0 loss against Doug Fister and the Tigers. It was the second time in his last three starts in which the Red Sox didn't score at all for him, the fourth time in his last eight starts and the sixth time this season. '€œYou can'€™t worry about that,'€ Lackey said after the loss. '€œThe other team'€™s pitcher'€™s not my problem. I'€™ve got to get a good lineup out as many times as I can.'€ The loss dropped Lackey, who leads Sox starters with a 3.22 earned run average, to 8-12 on the season. Still, despite the lack of wins, that ERA would rank as the second-lowest of his career, higher than only his 3.01 mark from 2007 with the Angels. "Honestly, this is about as good as I've ever pitched," Lackey said. "I'm probably better now than I ever have been." Of course, things would be even better for Lackey if the Sox were able to produce for him offensively. The Red Sox began each of the first two innings by having their first two hitters reach base, but both innings yielded a double play and, eventually, no runs. They also squandered two leadoff doubles and stranded a total of eight men on base, five of which were in scoring position. Lackey defended his teammates following the game, saying that his frustration isn't with them, but with the end result. "It's definitely not about lack of effort. The boys want to give me some runs," he said. They feel pretty bad about it. '€¦ They're grinding. Things happen." "He just gets frustrated when we don't win," said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "I think that's the biggest thing. He knows his job is to go out there and give us the best chance possible to win, and he's been doing that his whole career. To have a kind of stretch like that where he's keeping us in the ballgame and we just can't get any runs, at the end of the I think personal goals to him are kind of out the window. He wants to win, period." With the way he's throwing, Lackey has at least put himself in a position to win the job of No. 1 postseason starter. He's come a long way from where he once was, as he followed a disastrous 2011 season with Tommy John surgery and missed last season, which he joked wasn't all that bad. "I didn't know if I wanted to be a part of last year a whole lot," he said with a smirk. "It's nice to be on a good team playing good baseball. It's a great group of guys, for sure."