|ESPN.com: MLB Playoffs 2013||[Print without images]|
BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander John Lackey will oppose St. Louis Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night.
Red Sox manager John Farrell would not expand on his rotation plans beyond Lackey, saying only that "we fully expect Clay [Buchholz] and Jake [Peavy] to be pitching on the weekend in St. Louis."
Farrell did expand on his reasoning for going with Lackey over Buchholz, who was the superior pitcher when healthy during the regular season, saying that Lackey came out of his ALCS start well and the Red Sox don't want too much time to lapse between his outings.
Wacha, 22, has a 0.43 ERA this postseason. He took a no-hit bid against Pittsburgh into the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLDS.
Farrell said there was nothing wrong with Buchholz from a physical standpoint. The righty missed three months of the regular season with a neck issue and has given up 12 runs and 25 hits in 21 2/3 innings over three postseason starts. He has allowed three home runs in that stretch.
However, some speculation over Buchholz's health arose later in the day when Felix Doubront and Matt Thornton were both seen throwing a simulated game at Fenway. Thornton was left off the ALDS and ALCS rosters. Doubront pitched in just 2 1/3 innings of relief in the ALCS. Farrell said Tuesday that there would be no roster changes "as of today," leaving the door open to make a change, if necessary, before Wednesday's deadline.
Lackey rebounded from an ordinary outing against Tampa Bay in the ALDS by outdueling Detroit's Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the ALCS on Oct. 15. Lackey yielded four hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as Boston seized a 2-1 series advantage.
The fact that the better of Lackey's two playoff outings came on the road means little; the righty was significantly better at Fenway Park during the regular season, posting a 2.47 ERA in 13 starts at home.
Doubront is insurance in the event of an injury to a starter, or as a piggy-back option if a starter is knocked out early. If Doubront is needed in the rotation, Thornton could then take Doubront's spot in the bullpen, keeping three left-handed relievers at Farrell's disposal. Or, Thornton could simply be added in place of Franklin Morales, who has struggled.
The series opens Wednesday night, with Jon Lester opposing Adam Wainwright.
Buchholz and Lackey were the only Red Sox players not present at Tuesday's media access. As the Game 2 starter, Lackey will have a news conference Wednesday.