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Time for the Sox to lean on ... Lackey?

The Red Sox lost again yesterday afternoon, dropping the final two games in Seattle to end a six-game road trip.

The Red Sox lost again yesterday afternoon, dropping the final two games in Seattle to end a six-game road trip.

The 5-3 loss knocked their lead over the Yankees in the American League East down to just a half-game.

It’s a good thing, then, that Boston has John Lackey to lean on.

While Tim Wakefield can’t buy a win and Josh Beckett and Jon Lester suddenly look human, it’s Lackey, the human dartboard, who has become the ace of the staff.

With his victory Friday night over the Mariners, Lackey is now 6-0 with a 3.92 ERA since July 9, with the Sox going 6-1 in his seven starts.


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Lackey is making amends for a season and a half of maddening mediocrity — at $15.25 million per year, by the way — by delivering his best results in a Boston uniform at a critical time.

With home-field advantage in the postseason at stake, Lackey has been the main engine helping keep the Sox barely in front of the Yankees in the AL East standings.

Since Lackey last lost on the Fourth of July, the Red Sox are 24-11. Lackey has six of those victories. No other Red Sox starter has more than two, combining for a total of seven.

And three of Lackey’s wins during this remarkable stretch have come after a Boston loss.

It hasn’t always been pretty — Lackey has allowed 10 or more hits in three of the seven starts, and has allowed fewer than three earned runs just twice. But he has done well enough to keep the potent Sox offense in games, allowing him to match Beckett for the team lead with 11 wins.

“It’s been fun,” Lackey said. “It’s been a stretch where we’ve had a couple of guys out and needed to pitch well and been able to get some wins.”

 
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