The man with the greatest Game 7 pitching performance in World Series history also shares a place of history with Cubs pitcher John Lackey.
But Jack Morris shakes his head in disgust when he starts drawing comparisons between his playing days and today – especially what he has seen over the past week in this series.
“It’s such a different era,” said Morris, who pitched a 10-inning shutout for the Twins in 1991 to beat the Braves in Game 7. “It’s almost like pitchers become paranoid because any indication at all that there’s trouble, you’re going to get yanked. I just can’t stand that.
“I watched [the Cubs’ Kyle] Hendricks and [the Indians’ Josh] Tomlin,” he added of Friday’s starter matchup, “and they’re both pitching their tails off, and they’re both out of the game under five innings, when they should have never been gone.”
The bullpens finished the Indians’ 1-0 victory in that Game 3 matchup. Only one starter in the series has pitched even six innings in a start, and that’s Corey Kluber, who was a Series MVP candidate as the Cubs and Indians took the field for Game 5 Sunday.
Lackey’s five innings on Saturday night represented his longest of three postseason starts this season.
“It’s all about the relievers,” said Morris, who averaged more than 7 1/3 innings in seven World Series starts, including three complete games. He was 36 when he pitched that 10-inning Game 7 shutout.
“Starters really don’t have any glory in the postseason anymore,” said Morris, who is working the Series as a broadcaster for MLB.
Lackey – who leads all active pitchers with 23 postseason starts – and Morris are among six pitchers to start a World Series game for three different franchises. Morris and Bullet Joe Bush, nearly a century ago, are the only two to win rings with all three.
“Lackey’s had a really good postseason career. He just doesn’t seem to have quite the same stuff now that he did when he was younger,” Morris said. “But you can’t take way from what he’s done.”