LOS ANGELES — The Game 4 starters for the National League Championship Series couldn't be more different.
It's not so much of young vs. old, though it is that.
Dodgers southpaw Julio Urias just turned 20 and will be the youngest pitcher ever to start an NLCS game.
Cubs right-hander John Lackey turns 38 on Sunday (what would be Game 7 if the series goes that far) and is at the tail end of his 14th year in the big leagues.
Lackey has almost twice as many postseason innings on his resume (131 1/3) than Urias has in his entire MLB career (77 innings, all coming in 2016).
But that doesn't mean the Cubs have the clear advantage in what has become essentially a must-win game with the Dodgers up in the series and the possibility of Clayton Kershaw looming in Game 5.
"Sometimes it can be good to be young," Lackey said. "You don't know what you're getting into. You can just go out there and let your talent take over. And, obviously, he has a lot of that.
"It's a new situation for him. Back then, I was just worried about, you know, not messing it up for the older guys more than anything."
Now Lackey is one of the "older guys," a grizzled veteran who helped nurture some of the Cubs' young players and brought an edge to the clubhouse in a season where the goal from Day 1 has been World Series or bust.
Lackey has cut his teeth on the "Big Boy Games" he has been talking about all season and will get another chance to show off his cowboy style Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
They're going to need his edge to get back on track. A Game 4 win would turn the NLCS into a best-of-three series and give the Cubs homefield advantage with Games 6 and 7 set to be played at Wrigley Field.
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Lackey views this start as a new challenge and said he doesn't spend much time looking back at the two championship runs he's been through (in 2002 and 2013).
"I had a long break in between World Series, so you realize how special they are and how hard it is to get there and how meaningful those games are," Lackey said. "They're tough to get to and tough to win.
"At this point in my career, you've got to put in the work, you've got to put in the time. I don't got time to think that far back. I'm thinking ahead, and those are things maybe I'll check out on video when I retire in a few years."
Lackey isn't exactly in the twilight of his career. Joe Maddon said he still sees the same guy he saw start Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Anaheim Angels (where Maddon was on the coaching staff) and actually believes the veteran is in even better shape now.
Lackey struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings in 2016, tied for the best mark of his career. And he has won 24 games with a 3.03 ERA over the last two seasons (he spent 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals).
"He's a cowboy when he pitches," Maddon said. "He goes right after hitters. There's not a whole lot hidden when John pitches."
As for a big start, Lackey believes his experience really only comes into play with the smaller stuff — press conference the day before a start, longer TV timeouts, flyovers and other pregame festivities.
Urias admitted the pressure is always there and that he felt it during his NLDS appearance against the Nationals in Washington — his only postseason action — in which he walked two and allowed a hit in two innings of scoreless work.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he didn't have to talk to Urias after the outing and has confidence in the 20-year-old to deliver in a high-pressure situation.
"He's just so calm and cool," Roberts said. "Some of it plays to the youthfulness, the naïveté, and just not really understanding the gravity of the moment, which is great.
"It's just these guys, the world around them, the noise, they just completely eliminated it. And it's just fun to watch these young guys go. Julio — I have no concerns about him taking the ball."