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Who was the better Red Sox pitcher, David Price or John Lackey?
Continuing in our ongoing, organic Who Was Better? series here at the Sports Q, today we’ve got a matchup of a two pitchers who were signed as free agents, didn’t seem all that thrilled to be in Boston at first, earned the respect of teammates even though they often seemed miserable, overcame injuries, and ultimately helped the franchise win the World Series.
It’s Lackey vs. Price. Here’s the tale of the tape:
Lackey (2010-14): 47 wins, 43 losses, 4.46 ERA, 111 games, 701.2 innings, 541 strikeouts, 94 adjusted ERA, 3.9 WAR, no All-Star appearances or Cy Young votes, 2013 World Series champion, 3-1 with a 2.77 in 2013 postseason.
Price: (2016-19): 46 wins, 24 losses, 3.84 ERA, 108 games, 588 innings, 609 strikeouts, 118 adjusted ERA, 10.4 WAR, no All-Star appearances or Cy Young votes, 2018 World Series champion, 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA in nine postseason appearances.
I actually thought this one would be closer when I concocted the matchup, but it’s actually a pretty clear choice: Price was the better pitcher for the Sox than Lackey.
Part of the reason is that Lackey supplied arguably the worst season a Red Sox pitcher has ever had in 2011, when he put up a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts, then underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire ’12 season. Lackey was good in 2013 (10-13, 3.52 ERA, but a rock in the postseason), but he never had a season as good as Price’s 2016 (17-9, 3.99 ERA, league-high 230 innings) or 2018 (16 wins, 3.58 ERA, and a masterful World Series performance) seasons.
Both seemed miserable here. Both helped the Red Sox win a title. But the better pitcher? Price.
But what does everyone else think? I’ll hear you in the comments.
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