Found October 24, 2013 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels
Michael Wacha and John Lackey have taken much different paths to the Fenway Park mound for Thursday night's Game 2 of the World Series, but the magnitude of the moment isn't lost on either of them.
Wacha, the 22-year-old St. Louis Cardinals' rookie, may not be in this position had it not been for beloved superstar Albert Pujols bolting for the Los Angeles Angels following the team's championship in 2011.
The Cardinals, who used their compensation draft pick to select Wacha, couldn't be more impressed with how he's handled the postseason pressure -- and the fanfare that's come along with his success.
Wacha (3-0, 0.43 ERA) has a 0.30 ERA while winning his last four starts dating back to his final outing of the regular season, when he was one out away from a no-hitter against Washington. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth of a 2-1 Game 4 win over Pittsburgh with the Cardinals on the brink of elimination in the Division Series and tossed 6 23 innings of a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles in Game 2 of the NL championship series.
He then blanked the Dodgers through seven frames of a 9-0 win that clinched the pennant in Game 6.
"I'm just trying not to think too much about it, just trying to approach every game the same, trying not to get too caught up in the moment," said Wacha, who became the youngest NLCS MVP since 21-year-old Steve Avery with Atlanta in 1991. "I'm sure after the season, I'll be able to look back and think about, 'Hey, I pitched in the World Series,' and that kind of stuff. So, you know, right now just trying to get focused on the next start coming up and just go from there."
Lackey (2-0, 3.00) has been trying to block out distractions, too, but for much different reasons. He's been criticized often during his four years with Boston after signing a five-year, 82.5 million contract as a free agent following the 2009 campaign.
He posted a 4.40 ERA in 2010 and a career-worst 6.41 mark the next year before missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. The right-hander went 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts this season, but he's coming off possibly his best outing after striking out eight in 6 23 innings of a 1-0 win over Detroit in Game 3 of the ALCS.
"I'm not really concerned about some of that outside stuff," Lackey said. "I know who I was in the clubhouse and where I stood with the guys in the clubhouse. That means more to me than anything. You want to be on a good team. You want to try to help out the boys. You want to pull your weight. And that's been fun this year."
Lackey, who has never faced St. Louis, will be taking the mound in the World Series for the first time since earning a 4-1 victory in Game 7 against San Francisco as a rookie in 2002 while pitching for the Angels. He's 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in his last five postseason outings.
"This is a veteran with a lot of success in the past, including postseason success," manager John Farrell said. "Given the challenges he's come through in the time he's been in Boston, we're glad he's not only come back from Tommy John, but regained the form he had pre-injury."
Lackey will look to help the Red Sox win their 10th straight World Series contest after they earned an 8-1 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday. Their streak began when they swept the Cardinals in the 2004 Fall Classic.
Mike Napoli hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning, and David Ortiz added a two-run homer in the seventh.
Things went from bad to worse early for the Cardinals, who got their only run on a Matt Holliday homer in the ninth. Pete Kozma committed the first of his two errors by dropping an easily catchable ball while trying to complete a force play at second base in the first inning that opened the door for Napoli's hit, then Carlos Beltran was taken to the hospital after crashing into the right-field wall while robbing Ortiz of a grand slam in the second.
X-rays and a CT scan came back negative, and Beltran will be a game-time decision for Game 2 according to general manager John Mozeliak.
"He's a huge player for us. Everybody knows that. We all know that," Game 1 loser Adam Wainwright said.
The Game 1 victor has gone on to win 21 of the last 25 World Series.
BEST OF MAXIM
Rookie Michael Wacha kept pitching like a postseason ace and John Lackey matched him, leaving the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox scoreless through three innings Thursday night in Game 2 of the World Series.
A day after the Red Sox romped past the sloppy Cardinals 8-1, this one was tight at the start as Boston tried for its 10th straight Series win and a commanding lead....
Michael Wacha who could start Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Thursday has plenty of experience against baseball teams from New England.
Wacha pitched an excellent game for Texas A&M against Holy Cross throwing seven shutout innings on Feb. 24 2012.
That's right Wacha is 20 months removed from facing Holy Cross. Maybe the Sox can ask Crusaders coach Greg DiCenzo...
BOSTON -- Michael Wacha walked into a restaurant in St. Louis and found himself on the menu.
So he tried the "Wacha Wacha" milkshake.
"It was pretty good," the Cardinals rookie right-hander said before the World Series opener Wednesday night.
It's been a quick move from the shadows to the spotlight for Wacha, called up for the final time this season after...
Michael Wacha's masterful pitching run is over. So is the St. Louis Cardinals' season.
The 22-year-old rookie who burst on the major league scene with the poise of a veteran failed on baseball's biggest stage.
Wacha allowed six runs in 3-2/3 innings Wednesday night and the Boston Red Sox went on to a 6-1 win in Game 6 for their third World Series title in 10 years....
Stopping the Boston momentum was the most important job the Cardinals had to do entering game two. And all things considered, there was no better man available to do the job than Michael Wacha. The rookie continued his sensational October run, but this time all the breaks did not fall to him, and finally the odds caught up.
For the Cardinals, the early series stakes couldn’t be...
Game 2 of the 2013 World Series will feature the wily veteran versus the red-hot rookie. 11-year MLB starting pitcher John Lackey will look to put the Red Sox up 2-0 in the Series. Rookie sensation Michael Wacha, the NLCS MVP, will try to even things up for the St. Louis Cardinals.
After game one of the World Series, in which the Cardinals seemed to sleep walk through the game, making several mental (and physical) errors, the Cards need a wake-up call.
Things came unraveled in the bottom of the first when Pete Kozma dropped a flip from second baseman Matt Carpenter in what could have been a double play. The umpire, Dana DeMuth originally called the runner...
If what Jon Lester did was a precursor to what kind of series the Red Sox pitching staff is going to have, then this series may resemble 2004 more than we initially thought.
But we don’t get caught up in the emotion of one game and neither should Red Sox Nation. It was one win. Two of the next three games are guaranteed to be in St. Louis and...
Gametime: Thursday 8:07 | Fenway Park | FOX/WEEI
+7 Run differential in WS
Game 2 Matchup:
Michael Wacha, RHP 2013: 4-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.098 WHIP | 2013 Postseason: 3-0, 0.43 ERA, 0.571 WHIP
John Lackey, RHP 2013: 10-13, 3.52 ERA, 1.157 WHIP | 2013 Postseason: 2-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.167 WHIP
Career vs. Sox: N/A
Career vs. Cardinals...
St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox Thursday night 4-2 to even up the World Series at 1-1. Pitcher Michael Wacha only allowed two runs on three hits in six innings. Carlos Beltran showed no signs of being hurt as he was 2 for 4 with an RBI. John Lackey didn't pitch badly in his first World Series appearance since his Game 7 win in 2002. He gave up three runs...
Carlos Beltran's rib injury and Michael Wacha's breakout month will command most of the attention leading up to Game 2 of the World Series Thursday night.
But there's plenty to ponder besides the playing status of the Cardinals' veteran right fielder and the remarkable rise of their rookie starter. Here are three other story lines for Game 2:
Big Papi and the Cardinals...
Let the rest of the baseball world be surprised to see rookie pitchers dominating for the Cardinals. Around St. Louis, we've been watching it since April.
Heck, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal combined to shut out the Dodgers in the clincher of the NL Championship Series just last Friday.
Now what was surprising about the Cardinals' 4-2 victory in...
Eric D. Schabell
Yesterday in game 2 of the World Series, John Lackey put together another great outing, but somehow ended up on the short end of the stick with the loss.
This time as the camera found him in the dugout, you could really see the disgust on his face.
All season long he has been afflicted with the nasty syndrome...
It's not official yet, but all signs point to John Lackey—and not Clay Buchholz—starting Game Two of the World Series on Thursday night. Given the uneven performances of Buchholz in the postseason, Lackey would be the far more logical choice to follow Jon Lester. In this scenario, Buchholz would start Game Three at Busch Stadium on Saturday and Jake Peavy would take the hill...
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)Sloppy defense and uncharacteristically poor bullpen relief combined to rob Red Sox fans of what would have been another stirring David Ortiz-inspired comeback win (a two-run opposite field blast off Michael Wacha to give Boston a 2-1, 7th inning lead). But two stupid errors on one play—preceded by an unchallenged double steal and walk—pushed St...