Former Great Lakes Loons pitcher Julio Urias is set to make postseason history when he starts Game 4 of the National League Championship Series tonight. The Los Angeles Dodgers lefty is only 20 years and 68 days old, which means he will become the youngest pitcher to ever start a major-league playoff game.
He will take that distinction away from Bret Saberhagen, who was 20 years and 175 days old when he started Game 2 of the 1984 American League Championship Series for the Kansas City Royals. Saberhagen received a no-decision in that game after giving up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five batters in eight innings. One year later, Saberhagen won the A.L. Cy Young Award and helped lead the Royals to a World Series championship.
Urias pitched for the Loons in 2013, going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 16 walks in 54.1 innings. He made his professional debut in the Midwest League at age 16, making him the youngest MWL pitcher since then-17-year-old Felix Hernandez appeared in two games for the 2003 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Urias will face off against seasoned playoff veteran (and fellow Midwest League alumnus) John Lackey in NLCS Game 4. The 37-year-old righty will be making his second postseason start for the Chicago Cubs, and his 22nd playoff start overall. Lackey is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA, 103 strikeouts and 41 walks in 131.1 postseason innings (24 games/21 starts).
Lackey made five starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels as an Anaheim Angels prospect in 2000. He went 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA, 21 strikeouts and five walks in 30.1 innings.