How hard would a Red Sox fan have laughed in your face on March 31 if you told them John Lackey would get the ball start the potential World Series clincher? Even if you had Biff Tannern’s sports almanac from the future as proof, it would sound beyond outlandish.
Lackey, as you’ll recall, was last seen squarely in the middle of the Red Sox embarrassing “chicken and beer” scandal in the waning days of the 2011 season — a season he finished with a 6.41 ERA with a league-leading 114 earned runs allowed.
To his credit, Lackey missed the entire 2012 season through injury and came back this year and was a solid contributor with a respectable 3.52 ERA. Even so, who could have predicted Lackey would get the ball tonight with the Red Sox leading the Cardinals 3-2 looking to celebrate their first World Series at Fenway Park since 1918, when the Royal Rooters still roamed Boston?
Going up against Lackey is Cardinals’ standout 6-foot-6 rookie Michael Wacha — just like everyone drew it up when they made their preseason predictions, right?
The Red Sox are trotting out Carlton Fisk to throw out the first pitch tonight. If you haven’t seen his famous home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series 300 times already, here’s a montage of the best Game 6 moments by the Cardinals and Red Sox to get the juices flowing.
The other big storyline for tonight? It could be the last time we hear Tim McCarver call a national baseball broadcast. Here’s hoping FOX, which didn’t renew McCarver’s contract, will give us a wonderful montage of all his great moments set to this: