FORT MYERS, Fla. - Three aces. Three guys who won the deciding game of a World Series. All before the age of 25.Behold! The return of the most annoying adjective in Shank's arsenal!
Jon Lester was 23 when he got the start in the fourth game of the 2007 World Series. He pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and walking three with three strikeouts. Lester was the winning pitcher in the Red Sox’ 4-3 clincher at Coors Field.
Josh Beckett was 23 when he took the ball for the Marlins in the sixth game of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium. He pitched a five-hit shutout, beating the Yankees, 2-0, and was named Series Most Valuable Player. He was the youngest pitcher (23 years 5 months 10 days) to win a deciding Series game since Bret Saberhagen in 1985.
Rookie Angels righty John Lackey had just turned 24 when he started the seventh game of the 2002 Series against the Giants. Lackey went five innings, giving up one run on four hits and fanning four before turning a 4-1 lead over to Brendan Donnelly. Lackey faced Barry Bonds twice that night, getting Bonds on a liner to short, then surrendering an infield hit to the single-season home run king in the fourth inning. Lackey became the first rookie starter to win a seventh game of the Series since the immortal Babe Adams beat the Tigers for Pittsburgh in 1909.
It's refreshing to see him acknowledge the obvious strength of the Red Sox, at least this week.