The Will Middlebrooks obstruction seems like a moment of the far past. And now, after beating St. Louis in Games 4 and 5 on the road, the Boston Red Sox storm back to Fenway Park with one thing on their mind: a World Series Championship. Boston will have two chances at home to clinch its MLB-leading third World Series in the new millennium. The Red Sox certainly won’t look to take the two chances for granted, though. John Lackey opposes Michael Wacha as a small favorite with a total of 7.0.
Eleven years ago, John Lackey clinched the World Series for the then Anaheim Angels as a rookie. Big John looks to repeat the achievement as a 35-year-old veteran, this time on the East Coast. Lackey was phenomenal in a heart-breaking loss in Game 2 of this series. Now, he gets another crack and Michael Wacha and one more start in what has been one of the most pleasantly surprising turnarounds in the game this year. Lackey has somehow managed to continue to fly under the radar in a series where Jon Lester and David Ortiz have emerged as superstars amongst the rest of the Boston struggles. But the veteran has arguably been the third most valuable Boston player with the possible exception of Koji Uehara. Not only did Lackey pitch well enough to win Game 2, he nailed down a key hold in the eighth inning of Game 4 with his team’s back up against the wall. Lackey has been Boston’s most consistent starting pitcher all season and I don’t see much reason why that will change now. Expect Lackey to come out fired up and throwing the ball with purpose. He will compete with Wacha pitch for pitch and give his team a chance to win the ballgame – like he does every five days.
What will/are/were you doing at the age of 22? Chances are you never had, have, or will have the responsibility of staving off elimination in Game 6 of the World Series in Fenway Park. That is precisely what the St. Louis Cardinals will ask of Michael Wacha Wednesday evening when he takes the ball in a literal must-win situation. The rookie has been nothing short of sensational in the playoffs and looks to cap off his first marry-go-round with a win to force Game 7. Wacha dominated the Red Sox like he has every other opponent this season – limiting Boston to just three hits. One just so happened to be a 2-run home run to a batter that no St. Louis pitcher has managed to get out in this series. David Ortiz’s blast over the Green Monster gave Boston the lead momentarily before St. Louis snatched it back to even the series. The question becomes whether the moment gets too big for Wacha. Based on how he’s handled himself throughout big spots in his career thus far, there shouldn’t be room for a whole lot of doubt. The kid is a stud and runs will be at a premium.
A full seven runs just seems a tad high with the two arms going here. I do lean Boston in the clincher but I’ll take the under and look for a push or 1-run loss in a worst case scenario.
Free Pick: St. Louis/Boston Under 7.0