We knew this day would come eventually. In a matter of minutes, John Lackey will step onto the mound, making his return to regular season action for the first time since the Tommy John Surgery that followed his disastrous performance in 2011.
It is, frankly, too soon. He is the last vestige of an age of awful contracts and, ultimately, failure. You may fault him for chicken and beer, if that's your sort of thing. Me, I just look at him and remember our worst mistakes.
Still, we don't really have much to lose here--other than a game, of course. Lackey is not expected to do anything, really. Any level of contribution we get from him, even just a fringe-average performance--would basically be all upside. Unfortunately there's every chance he won't even manage that, and in that situation we're left waiting for Morales to get healthy, or the organization to deem one Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa ready.
For now, though, he does have a chance to start some level of reconciliation. Lackey's name will always, on some level, be a four-letter word in Boston. But it's game one of a whole new season, and even the most hopeless of players aren't likely to resign themselves to failure in April. He has earned no benefit of the doubt, but he's got an opportunity here to start positively. We can only hope he takes it.
And, hey, with the positive feeling around the team this time, a not-unhittable lefty in J.A. Happ on the mound for the Jays, and a 3-1 record at our backs, the Red Sox aren't really looking for a ton out of him anyways.