The revitalization of the Red Sox in 2013 has coincided with the injection of life into the career of John Lackey.
The 34-year-old right-hander has put together a stellar campaign in his third year with the squad, post ing a 3.19 ERA in 24 starts. Sure, his record is 8-11 (down from 14-11 and 12-12), but that is due to the shocking lack of run support he's experienced in his outings.
After receiving 5.2 and 6.1 runs of offense in games he started in 2011 and 2012, Lackey's teammates are producing just 3.3 runs per outing in 2013.
Regardless, Lackey has proven himself at a time when many were near ready to call for his head.
Is this stunning turnaround enough to make him the Red Sox go-to Game 1 starter in a postseason series?
The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy sure thinks so.
"I'll buy it, I'm not sure they [the Red Sox] will," Shaughnessy said. "I mean the way Lester's throwing and with his veteran status here, you've got that and Peavy it's hard to argue, four out of the last five have been really good. But based on right now, I'd say I would take Lackey, yes."
It's tough to argue with what Lackey has produced there entire season. Yet, an expected ace who floundered for most of the season is starting to find his form now.
For Greg Dickerson, the recent rise of Jon Lester has placed him back in the spot as that coveted Game 1 role.
"I'm selling on it. Lackey has been terrific, but based on Jon Lester, and I was one of those people who actually thought that Lester even when he was struggling six weeks ago, that for sure he should be in the rotation simply because he has the ability to do this, to dominate," Dickerson said. "I think as a No.1 starter, you want a a guy who has the potential to give you four-hit one-run eight-inning ball, he can do that more so than anybody."
What are your thoughts on this? Would you go for Lackey or Lester if given the choice for Game 1? Should Clay Buchholz be in the equation? Offer your opinion on this debate in the comments section.