Last night’s Game 3 instantly becomes a Fall Classic, classic. The late-inning heroics from both sides will sadly be forgotten because of the anti-climactic and unfortunate situation that transpired when Allen Craig stumbled into a laid-out Will Middlebrooks and third base. Jim Joyce ruled obstruction, Craig was called safe at home despite the throw being on time and the Cardinals walked off in one of the more improbable ways late into Saturday night. There was bound to be outrage by whatever side ended up suffering from that play and the reality is that it was the right call but it was an impossible call. A truly unfortunate way for a great game to end but the it is the home side that benefits and goes up 2-1 in the series. Now, uncertainty looms for the Boston Red Sox, down 2-1 in the series with the next two games in St. Louis and Clay Buchholz’s status very much in question ahead of his Game 4 start. His shoulder in limbo, Buchholz is listed as the Game 4 starter and listed as a pick against Cardinals’ erratic righty Lance Lynn. The oddsmakers have granted the total the hook with these two on the hill and holds steady at 7.5.
Clay Buchholz isn’t exactly known for his physical and mental toughness. An extremely talented pitcher, Buchholz’s career in Boston has been ridden with injuries and question as to why he hasn’t recovered from injury faster than he has. Fans certainly have no right to question Buchholz but the reality is that they will. And this is the same story leading up to Game 4. I’m not really sure what to expect from Buchholz tonight but after another heavy game for the ‘pen on Saturday, there’s a great chance Felix Doubront or Ryan Dempster will have to bridge the gap between Buchholz and the late-inning guys if Clay’s shoulder can only give four or five innings.
Lance Lynn goes for St. Louis in a spot where many will call for Adam Wainwright on short rest. While I sit in the Wainwright camp, I’ll assume that it is Lynn tonight, which is good news for Boston. Lynn is still just 25 years old despite seeming to be around for a while at this point. The hard-throwing righty has some tough stuff from a side-armed delivery but can be erratic with his command at times. Not only can Lynn get a little wild with walks, he tends to leave balls out over the middle of the plate at inopportune times when he isn’t clicking on all cylinders. Then again, he was the Cardinals’ win leader for a while this season and made the All-Star team before declining in the second half. The stuff is there for Lynn it’s just whether or not he harnesses the talent and has his command.
After a heavy night for both bullpens and with two uncertain pitchers listed tonight, it seems as though this game should push the total over. I expect one side to pitch well and the other to not in a lop-sided game. I’d rather not speculate on the side, though.
Free Pick: Boston/St. Louis Over 7.5