Like most folks John Lackey likes to look forward but for at least one night he’d like nothing better than to turn back the clock. It has been 11 years since Lackey then with the Anaheim Angels shut down the San Francisco Giants for five innings on his way to becoming only the second rookie in major league history to start and win Game 7 in the World Series. It’s an experience he still cherishes but a memory long faded as he prepared to start Game 2 for the Red Sox tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. There is little resemblance between the 24-year-old Lackey who silenced the Giants that night and the 35-year-old one who will come at the Cardinals a different man and a different pitcher. Asked what he might be able to take from that experience into Fenway Park tonight Lackey chuckled. “That I’m old I guess” he said. “You remember parts of it but I’ve been in the playoffs several times (since). I guess the main thing is you realize how hard it is to get here. Been chasing it for a while. You probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie.” Beyond a better sense of the moment Lackey arrives this time armed more heavily than he was in 2002. Back then he was an apprentice a thrower more than a pitcher. Tonight he will come at the Cardinals as a master craftsman with not only a plan but a wider assortment of ways to execute it. “More options” Lackey said when asked the difference between those two pitchers. “I was pretty much a two-pitch pitcher back then. I’ve got more things I can go to more ways I can go about getting people out if one thing is not working.” Considering the depth of the Cardinals lineup and the fact they came into the playoffs hitting a major league-best .330 with men in scoring position (highest since the stat was first recorded in 1974) Lackey may need as many escape routes as he can find. Yet all the numbers are not daunting. Cardinal big bats Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday are a combined 0-for-16 against him numbers Lackey was neither aware of nor concerned with because no one knows better than him that in baseball every day is a new day. A year ago Lackey was portrayed as the poster boy for all the ills that had turned the Sox into a reviled insult to the uniforms they wore but a year after recovering from Tommy John surgery he has been recast a symbol now of all that has changed between last year’s Lost Boys and this year’s Hardy Boys.
No ‘Lack’ of experience for John Lackey
Boston Herald | Oct 24