Young guns make names for themselves in MLB playoffs
Michael Wacha, the 6' 6'' 22-year-old out of Texas A&M has sure made a name for himself this postseason. The Cardinals' rookie did not allow a run in 13 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in the NLCS and for those numbers, Wacha earned himself NLCS MVP honors. In Game 4 of the the NLDS against the Pirates, Wacha took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. For the 2013 regular season as a whole, Wacha pitched to a 2.78 ERA, 131 ERA+, 1.10 WHIP and 3.42 K/BB in 64 2/3 innings at the major-league level.
Bogaerts, a 21-year old Aruba native, has made a name for himself and continues to build up his reputation this MLB postseason. In just his 14th start, the rookie drew two walks for the second time during the Red Sox's playoff run in the team's AL Championship Series Game 6 against the Detroit Tigers. Bogaerts became the youngest person to do so twice in a single postseason.
On December 9, Ryu signed a six-year $36 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 30 starts with the team, the South Korean was selected by Baseball America to the annual "All-Rookie team" after going 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA. Ryu became the first South Korean to serve as the starting pitcher of an MLB team in his Oct. 6, 2013 start against the Atlanta Braves.
The A's turned to rookie Sonny Gray in Game 2 of the ALDS to trade zeroes with Tigers' veteran and former Cy Young winner and MVP, Justin Verlander. Gray struck out nine and gave up just four hits through eight innings in his postseason debut, leading the A's to a 1-0 win over Detroit.
In five September starts during the Giants' successful run to the NL West Division championship, Bumgarner posted an ERA of 1.13. The Hickory, N.C. native became the youngest pitcher in Giants history to pitch in and win a postseason game. On Oct. 11, 2010, Bumgarner helped his team clinch the NLDS with a win over the Braves. In addition to the NLDS clinch, Bumgarner also pitched two shutout innings of relief in the NLCS-clinching game against the Phillies. Then, on Oct. 31, 2010, he pitched eight shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series. This start made Bumgarner the fourth youngest pitcher to start and win a World Series game. With this Game 4 victory, the Giants were able to take a 3-1 lead in the series and ultimately win the franchise's first World Series in 56 years.
On Oct. 27, 2007, Daisuke Matsuzaka started and led the Boston Red Sox to a 10-5 win over the Colorado Rockies in Game 3 of the 2007 World Series. This marked the Aomori, Japan native’s first World Series appearance. He became the third pitcher in Red Sox history to record two RBIs in a World Series game—the other two being Babe Ruth and Cy Young. Boston went on to win the World Series the next day.
At the age of 23, Josh Beckett of the Miami Marlins won the 2003 World Series MVP award. Beckett was instrumental in the Marlins defeating the New York Yankees to win the World Series that year. In Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, Beckett shut out the Yankees in a complete game, striking out 9 batters and making a tag for the final out that clinched the series. Beckett had never started a major league game on three-days' rest until Game 6 and became the first pitcher since Jack Morris in 1991 to pitch a complete-game shutout in the deciding game of the World Series.
During the 2002 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, Rodriguez had a 1–1 record with 13 strikeouts in eight and two-thirds innings. At 20 years, 286 days old, the Venezuelan became the youngest pitcher ever to win a World Series game. The Angels would go on to win the World Series in seven games.
Rivera became the Yankees’ setup pitcher in 1996 as he would typically pitch in the seventh and eigth innings before closer John Wetteland came in for the ninth. Rivera finished the 1996 regular season with a 2.09 ERA in 107 2/3 innings pitched and set a Yankees single-season record for strikeouts by a reliever that year. Mariano lit it up in the postseason, allowing just one earned run in 14 1/3 innings pitched and leading his team to the 1996 World Series where it would face the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees’ appearance in the World Series that year marked the team’s first since 1978. That year, Rivera placed third in voting for the American League Cy Young Award.