By Sean McAdam
The Red Sox need to do something -- anything -- about John Lackey.
Baseball-Reference.com noted that Lackey is the first pitcher since 1949 to three times allow eight or more runs in his team's first 37 games. More times than not -- four times in seven starts -- Lackey isn't giving his team a chance to win games.
Worse is his emotional well-being. Lackey seemed to be in meltdown mode Wednesday in Toronto when he imploded in the seventh inning. Showing up teammates, denigrating the ability of opposing players, hinting that others were to blame for his poor start -- it was all public, and it was ugly.
Undoubtedly, there are concrete, mechanical issues that have led to his unsightly 8.01 ERA. His velocity has dipped and his secondary pitches are wildly inconsistent in terms of both command and execution.
But there's the overriding sense that most of Lackey's problems are of a more personal nature in dealing with a family matter.
It's unclear what can be done to help him, but the notion of keeping Lackey, in his present state of mind, in the rotation every five days is far from a pleasant prospect.
There are options. The Sox could do worse than moving Alfredo Aceves into the rotation, although given the absence of both Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, the bullpen is already depleted enough.
Felix Doubront is in Pawtucket and available. So too is Brandon Duckworth, who might not be a long-term fix, but is pitcing well enough at Triple A to warrant a look a few times through the rotation.
Frankly, given the kind of starts he's been proving, there are few options that aren't better than Lackey for the time being.