Josh Beckett was better than Lackey, but he was by no means dazzling in his season debut. On Wednesday, Daisuke Matsuzaka gets his chance to start his bounceback campaign.
That trio of Red Sox starting pitchers each saw their share of troubles in what was a forgettable 2010 season for all of them.
In his first season in Boston, Lackey was far from consistent last season. Often times, Lackey said his struggles were partial bad luck and partial lack of execution. Many were willing to give him a pass following the season saying that he may have needed a year to get used to his new surroundings. The leash is much shorter this year in the eyes of Sox fans in the second year of Lackey's $82.5 million contract. Lackey's 2011 debut — 3 2/3 innings pitched and nine earned runs — has given even less optimism for a rebound.
Beckett spent much of 2010 hurt after injuring his back early in the year against the Yankees. Even so, he only mustered a 6-6 record with a 5.78 ERA, a definite shot to his Texas-sized ego. Beckett acknowledged his shortcomings and vowed to be better in 2011. His first start of the season wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't terrible, either. He worked only five innings and gave up three runs, but he was able to avoid any real big innings like the frames that cost him so often in 2010.
Finally, Matsuzaka is looking to establish some sort of consistency for the first time in quite some while. With John Farrell out of the fold, there are those that think the Japanese import is poised for an improved season. That wouldn't be extremely difficult as Matsuzaka only mustered a 9-6 record in only 25 starts last season. He did, however, show some signs of improvement over the spring. He was at his best when he pounded the strike zone, throwing his fastball consistently and not nibbling the corners as he's been known to do. If he keeps that up, there's the chance that he'll start to look more like the pitcher that won 18 games in 2008.
Which Red Sox starting pitcher will have the biggest bounceback season? Share your thoughts below.
Tuesday, April 5: How many wins will Josh Beckett have this season?