John Lackey scouting report: Watch the outside half - KMOV.com

John Lackey scouting report: Watch the outside half

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- Whether he was aided by an illegal substance or not, Jon Lester handled the Cardinals offense without much trouble Wednesday night. 

Thursday Boston will throw John Lackey at the St. Louis bats. For those that haven't caught a performance by the Red Sox hurler this season, here's a quick look at what to expect. 

Lackey has enjoyed the Boston offense this season, collecting all 10 of his wins when the Red Sox scored three runs or more. He is 0-8 when receiving two or less runs of support. 

He, like Lester, generally struggles against four hitters. Those hitting cleanup are batting .363 and slugging .763 this season against Lackey. He has surrendered nine home runs to the fourth sport in the lineup, which is more than triple any other spot in the order. 

However, the three spot in the order gets struck out at an incredible pace. Lackey posts a strikeout to walk ratio of 10.0 when facing three hitters, holding them to a .224 average. 

He's a recovery artist, keeping hitters to a .167 average even after he falls behind 2-0. When he's ahead in the count, batters post an on base percentage of .198. 

Lefties can expect a healthy dose of baseball's two most famous pitches when they're behind in the count. Lackey throws his four seam fastball roughly 50 percent of the time when he has two strikes, and his curveball 30 percent of the time. He works down and in or up and away to lefties on 0-2, and targets the outside corner on 1-2. 

For righties, the slider enters the mix, accounting for more than 20 percent of his two-strike pitches. Lackey's strikeout target is extremely consistent, with nearly 37 percent of all pitches low and away to right handers when he's ahead. 

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JJ Bailey covers the Cardinals for KMOV.com and the BaseballStL app. Follow him on twitter @TheJJBailey and on @baseballstl_app for updates.  

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