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July 5, 2011

Deliver Lackey to the bullpen

BOSTON — He has just four quality starts in 13 outings, has surrendered 60 earned runs in 72 1/3 innings pitched (7.47 ERA) and the Red Sox are 5-8 in games that he has started this season.

Meet John Lackey, possibly GM Theo Epstein's worst free agent signing.

Lackey gave the Red Sox almost no chance to win yesterday. And despite rallying, the Red Sox lost 9-7 here at Fenway Park in front of 38,072.

Send this guy to the bullpen once Clay Buchholz returns from the disabled list. Maybe even send him there before Buchholz returns and let Alfredo Aceves start in his place for the time being.

It doesn't matter how much money this burly right-hander is earning. Sure, he is making $15.25 million this year and will earn that same amount each of the next three seasons.

But he is just way too inconsistent. He is not keeping the Red Sox in games most of the time. And he often shows up his fielders when they don't make a play he feels they should have made while also making excuses for his poor performance.

Here is a statistic for you, John: All 60 of the runs you've given up this year have been earned. That means your fielders are not doing a bad job behind you. Actually, they are doing a pretty darn good job. Yet you continued to show them up even yesterday when you had next to nothing yourself, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings before being removed and being booed off the field possibly more than any Boston pitcher, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, has in recent memory.

The Fenway Faithful booing Lackey off the field has become a pretty routine occurrence this season.

"Overall, my arm felt pretty good," Lackey said. "Probably one of the better (games) it's felt as far as velocity and stuff like that. I just didn't locate well enough. ... I gave up some soft ones that fell in on some good pitches. And made some bad pitches that got hit hard."

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