John Lackey: More than wins and innings
Aug 3, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) celebrates after getting out of the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 3-2. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The first step to success in 2016 lies in the strength of 2015. Starting pitching led the way and John Lackey contributed on the field and in the clubhouse. Well known as a fierce competitor, fans were able to witness a fire throughout the season, from pitching out of jams to winning game one of the NLDS. Of course veterans like Molina and Wainwright set a tone of pitching excellence, but Lackey obviously added to the mix and helped propel the team’s stats to a league leading 2.94 ERA.
Lackey anchored the rotation with 218 innings pitched. Jaime Garcia was the only starter that posted better stats than Lackey’s 2.77 ERA, and a 1.21 WHIP with nearly half the innings. Lackey also won game one of the NLDS with a superb performance, holding the Cubs hitless through five innings and posting 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He allowed only 2 hits and a walk before yielding the mound to relievers Siegrist and Rosenthal. While his short-rest game four performance didn’t match game one, he pitched with passion and desire in Chicago.
Lackey likely will not be there in 2016 along with Lance Lynn, this presents some urgency for the Cardinals’ as the innings will need to be replaced. They could either decide to go after a guy like Mark Bueherle or the high priced David Price. One could also see the Cardinals’ relying on the organizational depth and allowing guys like Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney to fill in the innings missed by Lackey and Lynn.
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