The Chicago Cubs John Lackey has had his moments this season, but the offense has let him down at times as well.
John Lackey (9-8, 3.35 ERA) looked in postseason form on Saturday night against the Houston Astros. He allowed just two runs on four hits and recorded five strikeouts in his second start coming off the DL. But, as Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun-Times reported, Lackey was cranky after the 2-1 loss.
The Chicago Cubs are 14-12 in Lackey’s 26 starts this year. His 9-8 record implies that there were nine starts which Lackey didn’t qualify for a decision. In those games, the Cubs are 5-4, and Lackey has a 2.95 ERA with an average start lasting 7 1/3innings.
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Five of the Cubs 14 wins have been by five-plus runs. They average 4.54 runs per game in Lackey’s starts and are 6-2 in those games that have a five-run swing either way. Lackey is 5-2 in games decided by 5+ runs this year, with a 3.52 ERA in 46 innings.
When Lackey has at least five runs of support, the team is slashing .256/.408/.780), comparable to their combined season average (.252/.417/.768). The Cubs have scored just under twice as many runs (119) in Lackey’s starts than he’s allowed (67).
Lackey has done his part to nullify an opposing runner’s effectiveness on the base paths. He’s allowed only eight of his 67 runs via a sac-fly, and five runners to reach on errors. Opposing teams have recorded only eight plate appearances against Lackey with the bases loaded, scoring five runs without recording a hit.
With runners in scoring position, opponents are batting .161/.230/.454. Similarly, the Cubs offense has struggled in high leverage situations as well. They’ve collected a .215/.375/.714 slash line, scoring a run around 34% of the time.
The Cubs are batting a combined .300 with RISP when they give Lackey his average run support, but only .180 in games where he gets less than average support.
In short, Lackey has every reason to be cranky at how the Cubs perform on offense during his starts. Chicago is going to need strong performances from Lackey in the postseason if they are going to take home the Commissioners Trophy in 2016. In return, Lackey is going to need strong offensive showings in order for his efforts to be effective.