Lackey will be 'fired up' for Saturday start

Lackey will be 'fired up' for Saturday start
October 4, 2013, 1:45 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON --  Right-hander John Lackey joined the Red Sox as a free agent before the 2010 season, just a few months after his Angels lost the Yankees in the ALCS. On Saturday, he will make his first postseason appearance for the Sox since then, starting Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rays at Fenway Park.
 
“I'm excited about it,” said Lackey, who finished the regular season with a record of 10-13 and a 3.52 ERA. “It's been a few years since I've been in the postseason, but this is why you play the game. This time of year is what we're all here for.
 
“I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be fired up. It's part of the way it is. That's part of the reason I'm still pitching.”

It hasn’t always been an easy time for Lackey, who will turn 35 on Oct. 23, since he joined the Sox. That has been well chronicled. But in his first after returning from Tommy John surgery following the 2011 season, Lackey often showed the pitcher the Sox thought they were getting – although the results and his record didn’t always reflect that.
 
“I think when people look at John Lackey the way he's performed this year, you can't not acknowledge the work that he put in the off‑season,” said manager John Farrell. “Coming back from Tommy John, that rehab is pretty straight forward, but the commitment that he made to reshape his body, to put himself where he is physically, to me that's correlated to the consistency that he's been in our rotation. The reshaping of the body has allowed him to command the baseball, just because he's been able to repeat his delivery more consistently. And he's been probably one of our top two starters in terms of consistency, start to finish.”
 
Lackey earned the Game 2 start because of his stark home-road splits. In 13 starts at Fenway Park he is 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA. In 16 road starts, he is 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA. Lackey has difficulty explaining those numbers.
 
“I'm not really sure, honestly,” he said. “I don't know what that is, because really this place probably isn't one of best places to pitch. It should be the other way around.

“We've got a great fan base, and it's a fun place, good atmosphere, so who knows? If I knew, I'd pitch better on the road, I guess.”