2002 WS Rookie hero versus 2016 Rookie wonderkid
Game four of the NLCS has a tasty pitching matchup coming up tonight. The 37-year-old John Lackey has now thrown 131 postseason innings but once upon a time he was what Julio Urias is now, but just a little older.
Lackey was a rookie in 2002 and only threw 108 innings during the regular season for the Angels. He didn’t come up to the Angels until June 24th, but from that point on he was a regular in the rotation. Much like Urias, Lackey rarely went beyond five innings in Sept.
Even more eerily, Lackey’s first postseason appearance was as a relief pitcher in the ALDS just as Urias pitched in relief in the NLDS. Urias threw two shutout innings in relief, John Lackey pitched three shutout innings in relief.
Urias is going to start game four of the NLCS for his first postseason start. John Lackey started game four of the ALCS for his first postseason start. Lackey threw seven shutout innings in that game. For perspective on that, Lackey only did that one time in 18 starts in the regular season.
That is all we can compare for now because John Lackey went onto to become the Angels pitching hero in the 2002 World Series. He pitched in three games, started two, and was the winning pitcher in the World Championship game seven. At the time Lackey was only the second rookie to pitch and win a World Series game seven. The last to do it was Babe Adams in 1909.
Six other rookie pitchers over the past 93 years — including one Game 8 starter — had tried and failed to double the size of Adams’ exclusive club. But then along came Lackey, a tall Texan with a cowboy’s drawl, a Gomer Pyle smile and a bull rider’s heart.
Fast forward fourteen years, and John Lackey is still going strong. He has been a workhorse most of his career, compiling over 198 innings, eight times in his career. Over his career, he has thrown 2669 innings. How does that compare to his peers?
Most innings pitched from 2000 – 20016 per baseball reference:
We have the pitcher with the 6th most innings in the 21st century going against the kid making the youngest start in postseason history and quite possibly John Lackey is the person who knows the most about what it going through young Julio Urias’s mind.