Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MLB Playoffs 2013 [Print without images]

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Clay Buchholz on Series roster

By Tony Lee
Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell reiterated Wednesday afternoon that Clay Buchholz is ready to start this weekend against the Cardinals in St. Louis, but remains unclear as to when.

Clay Buchholz
Clay Buchholz has struggled in his three postseason starts, posting a 5.40 ERA.

"Right now he's scheduled to pitch on the weekend over in St. Louis," Farrell said in his pregame news conference at Fenway Park prior to Game 1 of the World Series. "We have yet to determine whether [Jake] Peavy is in Game 4 or Game 3. Some of that will be determined on how we see the style of John Lackey go up against this team tomorrow night."

Farrell's wording seems to leave the situation up in the air, just as his verbiage did Tuesday, when he said only that he expected Buchholz to be ready to go, despite lackluster results, diminished velocity and reports of a physical issue. Felix Doubront was seen throwing a simulated game Tuesday evening, adding speculation that the club was analyzing all options.

Farrell hinted that the fact that either Peavy or Buchholz could go twice if the World Series lasted seven games may play into when he slots both guys. Essentially, if there is little confidence in Buchholz being strong enough to go Saturday in Game 3 and turn around to start the following Thursday in Game 7, if necessary, Farrell simply may choose to start him in Game 4.

Buchholz missed three months of the regular season with a neck issue, then returned to make four starts in September. He has made three postseason starts and has given up 12 runs and 25 hits in 21 2/3 innings.

Farrell was asked earlier Wednesday during his weekly appearance on WEEI if Buchholz was healthy.

"Is he healthy? Yeah. I mean, if he wasn't healthy, and it was at a point of a detriment either current or long term, we wouldn't even hesitate," Farrell told the radio station. "We'd pull the plug on it and go in another direction. But he's ready to start."

Farrell did acknowledge that Buchholz's stamina will be a factor in analyzing the right-hander's outing. Buchholz has thrown 82 and 85 pitches, respectively, in his last two games, both of which saw him display signs of fatigue in the middle innings.

"The game will dictate the restrictions," Farrell said on WEEI. "We don't go in with a hard, fast number that he's capable of, or anything along those lines. The one thing we have seen is when he's started to tire it has happened relatively quick. So that's what we have to remain aware of."

Tony Lee is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.