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08/02/06 7:03 PM ET
Lackey named AL Pitcher of the Month
Back-to-back complete-game shutouts highlight July
By Zachary Levine / MLB.com
How good was John Lackey's July? Not only did it take until July 19 -- his fourth start of the month -- to take a loss, it took until that date to give up a run. Lackey was named American League Pitcher of the Month for July, a month that featured the majority of his 30 2/3-inning scoreless streak and a near-perfect game. The 27-year-old right-hander went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA as his Angels went 19-7 to get right in the thick of the tight American League West race. The best outing of Lackey's career came July 7 in Oakland, when he allowed a leadoff double and set down the next 27 Athletics. He finished with 10 strikeouts for the second of his three straight double-digit strikeout games. He followed his near-perfect game with another complete game shutout, this time a five-hitter against the Devil Rays on the July 14, which ran his scoreless streak to 26 2/3 innings. "I've never seen John when he wasn't confident, but lately it has been his execution, it has been his frame of mind," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He is showing patience and growth as a pitcher but when he has to, he can put a hitter away." The streak would end after four more scoreless innings in a loss to the Indians on July 19, but it was still a July to remember. "I think [Lackey's] throwing the ball as well as anyone in the game today," Scioscia said. It's the first Pitcher of the Month Award for Lackey, whose teammate Bartolo Colon took home the honor in August 2005. Twins rookie phenom Francisco Liriano took home second place in the voting while picking up American League Rookie of the Month honors.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.