Game 1 for the St. Louis Cardinals surely brought back some ill memories of the first half of Game 1 in 2004 when Boston jumped out to a big lead. This time, there was no St. Louis rally. Aside from a late solo shot from Matt Holliday, the Cardinals bowed out quietly and Boston opened up the World Series with an easy victory behind a great performance from Jon Lester. Now, all the pressure lies on the shoulders of young Michael Wacha as he gets set to take on 35-year-old John Lackey looking to equal the series at one. Lackey opens as a small favorite with a total at 7.0.
Last year, Michael Wacha was pitching for the Texas A&M Aggies. In 2013, he’s starting Game 2 of the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wacha was selected 19th overall in 2012 and the young phenom has taken the baseball world by storm in this year’s playoffs. Relying on nothing much more than two pitches, Wacha has posted a 0.43 ERA and a 0.57 WHIP in 21 playoff innings. His WHIP and ERA combine to equal 1! A 97 MPH fastball with command beyond his years and a superior, dipping changeup from his straight over-the-top delivery makes the 6’6″ Wacha nearly unhittable for opponents that haven’t seen him before. Obviously, this is the first time the Red Sox will see Wacha, which makes it tough to think they will do anything with the right-hander that others teams couldn’t. The Red Sox were fortunate that Wainwright came out of the bullpen extremely ineffective last night but they can’t count on that happening again, this time with Wacha. Look for the kid to throw another great game.
After rumblings that it would be Clay Buchholz in Game 2 at Fenway Park, John Farrell announced that it would be John Lackey getting the start at home after the Red Sox took the 1-0 series lead. Lackey might not have the pure stuff that Wacha does at this stage in his career but he brings something to the table that Wacha definitely doesn’t – World Series experience. If you remember, John Lackey actually pitched his team to victory as a rookie in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series against Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants. Now he returns as a 35-year-old veteran looking to win his second ring. Lackey has been fantastic in the playoffs – defeating Alex Cobb and then Justin Verlander both on the road in Game 3’s. Lackey returns to Fenway to pitch in front of the home crowd, where he fared extremely well in 2013.
This game should be a pitcher’s duel but, like last night, I feel more comfortable that the Sox go under their team total than the entire game going under. Wainwright coming out rusty killed it last night. I’m banking on Wacha being ready to go from the start.
Free Pick: Boston Red Sox TT U3.5