By Jim Irwin
There’s a saying popularized from Patrick Swayze’s Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” If you were ever on a sports team down at halftime, like the three of us were, you probably heard a coach try to motivate the team by saying something along the lines of “Nothing is scarier than a dog that’s stuck in a corner.” Because that’s when a dog bites. That is when a dog does everything it can to survive. To take this one step further, there’s nothing scarier than a GA guy in a corner. He’ll scratch and claw, doing whatever it takes to live another day. To take it one more step further, there is NOTHING scarier than John Lackey in a corner.
There were a lot of questions about the back end of our rotation in June, with critics, including us, saying Lackey’s career is presumably over, 38 years old and giving up any home run he can get his hands on. He responded to this criticism in a similar manner as a young Tom Brady.
When Drew Bledsoe went down in 2002, a veteran wide receiver told Brady that he’s doing well in place of Bledsoe, keeping the seat warm until he gets back. To this, Brady responded “He’s not getting this fucking job back.” Eddie Butler is not getting his fucking job back, Mike Montgomery is not getting his fucking job back.
John Lackey is here to stay, winning five straight starts in a tight division race, not doing anything special, just winning ball games, cementing his spot in the rotation and making the fourth playoff starter decision harder for Joe Maddon every time he takes the mound. Do not put John Lackey in the corner, because that’s when he does his best.