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BOSTON (CBS) – While Clay Buchholz admits he isn’t at 100 percent, the Red Sox right-hander is ready for his start Sunday night in Game 4 of the World Series.
“My one thing that I have is to go and compete; go out there for as long as John wants to leave me out there, and give the team a chance to win to the best of my ability,” Buchholz said Saturday night prior to Game 3. “Obviously given the couple of days that I’ve been out so far, not a hundred percent. But I’ve said it a couple of times this year, I don’t think anybody, especially at this time of the season, is a hundred percent.”
“It’s going to be my first World Series experience being on the field, and I think that just the environment, the crowd, the adrenaline, that’s going to help me out, too,” he added.
Buchholz threw a pair of side sessions on Friday and Saturday, and said Saturday’s session was a little more intense in order to knock off any rust from a seven-day layoff. Much has been made about whether or not he would in fact be able to go Sunday night, and he didn’t sound very confident in his ability on Saturday, but his goal is to give his team a chance to win.
“The ball is not really coming out of my hands like it does in Spring Training or at the beginning of the season. I think that’s true for the majority of the guys that have been pitching all year, and something that I’ve had to deal with over the last three and a half months,” he said. “I’m still in the same shoes from that standpoint.”
“The last time I got hurt I threw one pitch, and it’s like, okay, I don’t think I should throw another pitch. This time I went three‑plus innings with tightness,” he said of his Game 6 start in the ALCS against the Tigers. “That’s how I’m staying stable as far as mentally. But I think giving the team a chance to win, that’s my goal. And to trust your pitches and to throw them to the best of your ability, that’s what I’ve worked up to up to this point, and that’s where I’m at.”
It’s been a mixed bag from Buchholz this postseason. He gave up three runs in six innings in his lone ALDS start against the Rays in Game 2, and then surrendered seven runs over 10.2 innings over two starts against the Tigers in the ALCS. He went just five innings against the Tigers in Boston’s clinching Game 6 win, coming out after 85 pitches and allowing the first two batters of the sixth inning to reach.
While he obviously would like to toss zeros for nine innings, holding the Cardinals to the two runs over five innings he gave up to the Tigers in Game 6 would be welcomed.
“If you can give up two runs to either of those teams, regardless of how many innings you pitch, I think that’s a victory in itself,” said Buchholz.
“We’re going into [Game 4] thinking that he’s going to give us what he’s been in the postseason,” said Boston manager John Farrell. “That might be a little bit shorter of an outing than we’ve seen in April and May, but he’s also been very effective. We’re fully expecting that to be the case.”
Buchholz isn’t too familiar with the opposition he’ll face on Sunday, as he has no experience against anyone in the Cardinals lineup. Should things go downhill early for Buchholz, Farrell will be quick to pull the plug once again. Lefty Felix Doubront and right-hander Brandon Workman are the likely candidates to provide Boston with long relief — if needed.
St. Louis will send Lance Lynn to the mound, who went 15-10 with a 3.97 ERA in the regular season. He is 2-1 in three games this postseason, two of which were starts, allowing seven earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched.
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