1) I love playoff baseball, it truly is a completely different game. Without the Sox in the mix, it allows me to more thoroughly enjoy the game.
2) I hate that the Red Sox are not in the mix.
Anyways, most media outlets (ITM very much included) have pointed part of the finger of blame at John Lackey in 2010. So much so, that when I saw the headline of a recent NESN.com article saying "Lackey Will Build on a Solid 2nd Half", I immediately dropped F bombs until ITM Gal told me she wouldn't make dinner if I kept it up.
But to my surprise, they almost have a point. Almost. Sure, Lackey's overall numbers in 2011 were an extreme disappointment, but I think I was so pissed at him, that I was blind to his somewhat improved second half (I'm searching for silver linings here, roll with me):
Lackey finished the second half with a 3.97 ERA, almost a run less than his piss poor first half. After the mid Summer classic, he had 88 strikeouts compared to just 26 walks...which is certainly more "Lackey like". Prior to the midsummer classic he struck out 68 and walked 46. Lackey ended the season by going 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA over his last three starts.
Lackey called the 2010 season "a learning experience". I'd say that's soft, but perhaps fair.
I'm not softening my stance on the big ass Texan, far from it, he needs to feel the heat all off season to make sure he never feels it again......but I'm just trying to point out the only bit of optimism I have for a guy who's number have been declining each year of late.
ITM note: We may have grossly overpaid for what we thought was inning-eating "ace", but I still would love to crush beers with this guy. I mean, he looks like he could drink team under the table and then drive his pick up truck home, but I bet he's a great drunk. (see George W.)