NEW YORK -- Red Sox pitcher John Lackey was highly emotional after Sunday night’s dramatic Red Sox win, but his agitated state had little to do with the outcome of the game.
Instead, Lackey lashed out at the media because of a text message he said he received about 30 minutes before his start that he claimed was “personal” in nature and “over the line,” though he offered no details.
In what was surely the most bizarre postgame interview session of the season, Lackey’s hostility was apparent from the first question, when he took exception to a questioner describing a three-run first inning as “rocky.”
“There was one hard-hit ball in that rocky first inning,’’ said Lackey, who has been widely maligned for his pitching during a season in which he has posted the highest ERA ever of any Red Sox starter who has thrown more than 150 innings. “A ground ball that went by somebody. Let’s be honest, one time. Whatever.’’
Lackey recovered from the first inning to pitch five scoreless innings until the seventh, when he was lifted after giving up a leadoff single to Eric Chavez, which ultimately led to a fourth run. Television cameras caught Lackey cursing from the mound to the dugout, apparently upset with manager Terry Francona’s decision to remove him. But by pitching into the seventh, Lackey had offered a welcome break from a stretch in which Sox starters had pitched five innings or fewer in six of the last seven games and 15 times this month.
To a question about what kind of boost the team received from his effort Sunday, he offered a terse, “We just needed to win a game.’’
But when asked by Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, “How do you think you pitched,’’ Lackey veered off topic in a big way.
“Let me tell you the truth,’’ Lackey said. “Thirty minutes before the game I got a text message on my cell phone from one of you, somebody in the media, talking about personal stuff. I shouldn’t even have to be standing up here dealing with it.
“I’m sitting here, listening to music. I don’t know who got my phone number, but that’s over the line.
“Anything else you want to talk about?’’
Nothing has surfaced publicly in recent months about Lackey’s personal life. Last winter, it was reported that Lackey’s wife, Krista, was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and after a particularly rough start in May, Lackey blurted, “Everything in my life sucks right now.’’
Before meeting with reporters Sunday night, Lackey had a brief but animated discussion with a club official about the text message and how his phone number had gotten out. There were indications Sunday night that a celebrity/gossip website had sent him the text message, but that could not be confirmed. The website TMZ subsequently published an item about Lackey's marriage on Monday morning at 3:55 a.m. ET.
When asked if he suspected anyone standing in front of him, Lackey said, “I’ll find out.’’
He also was asked if the text message had distracted him on the mound.
“I don’t believe I've got to deal with this,’’ he said.
Even after the interview broke up, Lackey continued to rage. “I can’t believe … Any of you who would get into that is going to have a serious problem.’’