The Red Sox met with righthander John Lackey yesterday, trying to determine how best to help him through the problems that have led to his poor start.

Lackey is 2-5 with an 8.01 earned run average. He gave up 17 earned runs on 19 hits and eight walks over 10 2/3 innings in his last two starts.

"Everything in my life [stinks] right now, to be honest with you,'' he said Wednesday after giving up nine runs against Toronto.

That performance and his comments led to a meeting at Yankee Stadium that included general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona. Head athletic trainer Mike Reinold also participated.

"We've talked to Lack. We try to talk to everybody. I do think some of the things have to be a little bit personal,'' Francona said.

Lackey revealed in spring training that his wife, Krista, was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. But the Sox also wanted to check with Lackey to make sure his poor performance on the mound was not related to an injury.

"Obviously, you look deeper and deeper when you don't get the kind of results you're looking for,'' Epstein said. "Those aren't things that are going to be discussed publicly, but the pitching coach and others are working on it every day to try to put guys in a position to succeed. Rest assured there's a lot of work being done on a lot of different fronts to improve this club. Obviously, that's one of the fronts.''

In terms of how Lackey has pitched, the results are discouraging. He has allowed 53 hits and 18 walks over 39 1/3 innings and has just 19 strikeouts.