After his memorable 2002 performance, the promising future predicted for John Lackey never materialized. Inconsistency, mental weakness, and a few too many benders (pure speculation on that last one) plagued Lackey and gave Angel fans unending frustration. Even yours truly, a reluctant optimist on these pages, was calling for Lackey's ouster. It seemed like he didn't get it, and never would. He was truly a lackey.
But Scioscia kept sending him out there (sound familiar?), even through the beginning of this season. His shoddy performances continued, and so did the riots in Halos Heaven and elsewhere.
But then it all stopped.
He stopped throwing wild pitches, he stopped overthrowing, he stopped pitching shutouts into the 5th and then giving up 6 runs (Did he stop the benders? I don't think so, by the looks of him). Why?
Wasn't it right after Ervin Santana's arrival that Lacky started stringing together "quality starts"? Did that light a fire under his ass, as if to tell him, "Get your shit together before Escobar returns, or it'll be 'hit the bricks, pal'"?
However it happened, all I know is I don't feel any of the anxiety I felt every time his slack-jawed ass meandered to the mound over the past 2+ years. And while Bad Lackey rears his head occasionally, he has definitely grown into a legitimate starter in this league, and a HUGE reason the Angels are where they are this season.