Sports

Game 2: Red Sox vs. Cardinals, 8:07 p.m., Fox

John Lackey set to lead Red Sox in Game 2

John Lackey will start for Red Sox Thursday night.
Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff/File
John Lackey will start for Red Sox Thursday night.

Red Sox pitcher John Lackey on Thursday will be making his first World Series start since Game 7 in 2002, when he beat the Giants while a member of the Angels.

Now, at age 35, Lackey appreciates the opportunity like never before.

“I guess the main thing is you realize how hard it is to get here. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been here,” he said. “Been chasing it for a while, and you probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie.”

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Lackey was brilliant in Game 3 of the ALCS, throwing 6⅔scoreless innings and giving up four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

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Lackey has a 3.10 earned run average in 16 postseason appearances. He has come to enjoy taking the mound in October.

“It’s not a normal game. It’s a playoff game,” he said. “It’s a big game, for sure. It’s going to be cold and it’s just that feeling in the air that it’s October and it’s different. You’ve got to embrace that, have fun with it, and go get after it.”

Lackey has never faced the Cardinals. The only St. Louis hitters he has faced are Matt Holliday (0 for 7) and Carlos Beltran (0 for 9).

Lackey was eager to watch Jon Lester pitch in Game 1 and enjoy the atmosphere of the Series. Thursday, he said would be all business.

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Lackey laughed when asked what he has enjoyed about this trip to the postseason.

“It’s a good group to party with. We do pretty good,” he said.