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John Lackey Struggles Again As His Quest For Control Continues

Sure, the Red Sox offense struggled in Friday night's loss -- the Phillies' Cole Hamels limited the Boston bats to just three hits and one run in seven innings. But the other, glaring factor was John Lackey's, well, lack of control. Perhaps our Sox blog, Over The Monster, said it best: "John Lackey continued to fail to live up to his massive contract." And they're right -- I don't think Boston is paying him nearly $19 million this season to walk five batters in a game (to just three strikeouts), but that's exactly what Lackey did last night (a season high for walks).

"It's not like he's wild,'' said Terry Francona. "Some of it you have to attribute it to who you're facing. And the situation in the game. You don't want to give in. He missed with pitches, but not by much. It's not like he's scattering balls. He's trying to be fine because of the situation of the game.''

"When you're playing one-run games in this ballpark, you can't give in,'' said Lackey. "The walks didn't effect me any. I gave up the one homer (to Howard) in the fourth and the one (to Werth) that goes out pretty much anywhere.''

While Lackey doesn't seem too concerned about it -- when asked after the game if he was worried about his recent lack of control, Lackey responded, "Not at all. I think only one of (the walks) scored. That's all that matters."

As you might expect, pitching coach John Farrell isn't exactly taking the same approach (see: $18.7 million salary this year), and said as much last night, pointing out that "the consistency of command has not been, game-to-game, as I think he or everyone else would expect."

It is worth noting (maybe) that after Friday's loss, Lackey joined Daisuke Matsuzaka in hinting at some other, behind-the-scenes factors which were to blame for his bad starts (a 7.50 ERA in his past three outings).

"I haven't pitched my best, obviously. Multiple things have been kind of going on -- it's been a little tough luck here and there, and lack of execution, too. I've been around long enough. I'll figure it out.'' [...]

When asked about his escalating walk totals and, correspondingly, his decreased strikeout-to-walk ratio, Lackey answered: "I can't get into that.''