Can John Lackey save the Cardinals?
Here we are, do or die Game 4 on the road, and the Cardinals have turned to their new “defacto ace”, John Lackey on short rest. Today’s game starts at 3:30 CT, Lackey will be going up against the Cubs’ fourth starter Jason Hammel, who will be making his fourth career postseason start (4.80 ERA).
Lackey was dominant in Game 1, going 7.1 innings and not allowing a single run, and not allowing a single hit until after the fifth inning. I like the aggressive move by Mike Matheny and company. Lackey has an incredibly impressive postseason resume that I have discussed on multiple occasions. The move to start Lackey is a move to silence the Cubs bats and a move to get this series back to St. Louis for a winner take all Game 5.
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The wild card in all of this, Lackey will be pitching on short rest. Lackey has pitched on three days rest four total times (twice in regular season and twice in playoffs) in his career and is 2-1 with 7 ER in his career in those four starts, giving him an ERA of 3.15.
Right now, with the Cardinals season on the line and the rotation as it is, there is no other pitcher that I would rather have out there. Lance Lynn has proven that against this Cubs team and in Wrigley Field he simply cannot be trusted. It has been proven in this series that in order to beat this Cubs team you have to be able to shut this Cubs offense down.
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Lackey has that potential here. Forget about his career numbers on short rest as all of those starts happened back when Lackey was a young buck with the Angels ten plus years ago. Lackey is now a 36 year old veteran with loads of postseason experience with his team’s season on his back. To answer my title question “Can John Lackey save the Cardinals?” Yes. Lackey can save the season.
However, whatever Lackey does today has to be backed up by an effective bullpen. The Cubs have now been able to get to the Cardinals’ bullpen in each of the past two games. This cannot happen today, Lackey has to have support from his teammates today, as we cannot expect Lackey to go more than six innings despite his 86 pitch outing on Friday.
Let’s hope that John Lackey and the Cardinals can answer the bell today and take this series back to St. Louis for a Game 5 on Thursday.
What are your thoughts Cards’ fans?