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He's starting Sunday," Farrell said.
Farrell uttered some variation of those words late Wednesday night, then again Thursday. But now, after Buchholz threw from as far as 100 feet off flat ground during the Red Sox' workout between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series, Farrell sounded certain that the skinny right-hander's balky shoulder won't prevent him from taking the mound in Game 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
And Buchholz? Two days after admitting he has felt a "dead" sensation in his shoulder, the same shoulder that sidelined him for three months during the summer, he deferred comment until today when he's slated to hold his pre-start press conference at Busch Stadium.
Before leaving Busch Stadium last night, pitching coach Juan Nieves characterized Buchholz' session as "excellent." Clearly, though, Buchholz is compromised, and that's hardly good news for a Red Sox team that was counting on him as a force at the front of the rotation when the playoffs began.
Herald - Clay Buchholz gets Game 4
It bothers me that everybody is so focused on Buchholz' game 4 start when there's still a game 3 to play tonight. But whether the Sox win or lose tonight, Game 4 is huge. Also: every game of the world series is huge, so we should probably spend a few hours fretting over Jake Peavy instead of Buchholz.
There will be time for that tonight starting at, oh 11:30 or so.
The last time we saw Peavy pitch he got destroy by the Tigers. He gave up 7 runs and 5 hits in just 3 innings before getting mercilessly yanked. Of course, the game before that (his only other post season start for Boston) he gave up just one run in 5 2/3 innings against Tampa. Which Peavy shows up tonight is anyone's guess. For what it's worth, he had this to say about his first World Series start: “I just feel like I’ve been in enough situations over the years that there’s nothing tomorrow night that’s going to rattle me or get in my head.”
Not sure what else he would say here. "I'm scared out of my mind. Don't be shocked if the first pitch I deliver flies over the backstop"?
Back to Buchholz, since he's the guy everyone wants to talk about. I've read a few things this morning where people are guessing that he won't get the start. That this is just some sort of clever ploy by Farrell to make the Cards prepare for a guy who won't play. Which is absurd. As if Doubront is going to step onto the mound in a #11 jersey with a blonde beard glued to his face and take the entire team by surprise!
I think you'll see Clay throw out that first pitch, and Farrell will ride his arm for whatever juice it has left. Whether that's 3 batters or 21, he'll be out there. And Doubront will be loose and ready to come in when he's needed. It's that simple.
But first, let's all pray for a solid start from Peavy.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Tomase: Time to shake up struggling lineup | Buckley: No Lack of John Farrell critics | Globe - Jake Peavy gets his first crack at Fall Classic | Game 3 preview | Nava back to lineup | CSNNE - Searching for mojo | Sox counting on more from Peavy in Game 3 | Farrell goes with Ortiz in Game 3 | WEEI - Farrell: Drew's defense critical for Red Sox | Fragile past, present, future for Clay Buchholz? | All of a sudden, Jake Peavy finds himself in World Series spotlight