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Friday, October 11, 2013
Buchholz, Lackey to start Games 2-3

By Gordon Edes
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- John Farrell flip-flopped John Lackey and Clay Buchholz in his rotation for the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

Buchholz now will follow Game 1 starter Jon Lester and pitch the second game at Fenway Park. Lackey, who pitched Game 2 in the AL Division Series, will pitch Game 3 on Tuesday, when the series shifts to Detroit. Jake Peavy will take the mound Wednesday for Game 4.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland set his rotation as Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister. All four are right-handers.

Buchholz has made four career starts against the Tigers at Fenway, the most recent on July 30, 2012, and posted a 1.20 ERA (four earned runs in 30 innings). He went at least seven innings in all four starts, and allowed 16 hits and 10 walks, striking out 19.

"It's going to be fun," Buchholz said. "This will be my first time on a roster at this point in a postseason. That last series was pretty intense. I don't expect anything different in this one.

"This is my favorite park to pitch in, not just because I play for this team here. Just a place growing up, watching games on TV, just seemed like a special atmosphere. Being able to start games over here the last couple of years, it's been a fun place to pitch."

Lackey has made six career starts in Comerica Park, going 4-1 with a 3.82 ERA. He faced the Tigers in Detroit once this season, on June 20, and went seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, walking one and striking out five. He was not involved in the decision in a 4-3 loss. Lackey went at least 6 2/3 innings in five of the six starts, giving up 37 hits and 19 walks while striking out 27. He allowed just three home runs.

"We had some extra days to adjust, without bringing anyone back on short rest," Farrell said. "We felt like with Clay falling in behind Jon [Lester], it gives us a contrast of style. And that would be the case with John Lackey as well. We felt like we could get some additional work done with Lackey today.

"I thought Clay threw the ball well in his start [against the Tampa Bay Rays]. That's not to say John Lackey's start was less than [that]. He pitched us to a win against Tampa Bay in Game 2. But with the rotation going forward the first two days, we feel good about where we are."

Lackey started Game 2 against the Rays at Fenway, and was credited with the win in Boston's 7-4 victory, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out six.

Buchholz followed in Game 3 at Tropicana Field, going six innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. He was not involved in the decision in Boston's 5-4 loss, as Jose Lobaton homered off closer Koji Uehara in the ninth to win it for the Rays.