Dear John Lackey: Watching you hold down the American League’s second-best team and one of our most likely playoff opponents last night, I suddenly realized how valuable you are to this team right now. And then I thought about all the not-so-awesome things I said about you when you were performing not-so-awesomely. And it made me sad.

Fact is, you may not have been my favorite guy on the staff a couple years ago, when all I could think about was the mountains of cash you were sitting on and the ulcers your starts were inflicting upon me. But after 2012’s “lost season,” I felt you were unfairly cast as one of the targets of our ire. And I awaited your 2013 revival tour. Hell, I even pegged you for 20 wins. So the love was there.

What I want to say is that right now you represent everything that’s right with this team. And we need you. And I’m sorry.

So please accept the following R.E.M. song as a form of apology. I’m not really sure what the song is about, but he seems to sing, “I’m sorry” a lot. And that works for me.

I hope it works for you as well, sir.

So please keep kicking ass. And I’ll keep keep plunking down fivers in your name.