The Boston Red Sox may already be handicapped to a certain extent by the fact that they cannot use a designated hitter in the World Series at Busch Stadium, because it is a National League park.
Now they have a bit of a problem on the back end of their rotation, which baseball bettors know can have a definite impact on Game 4 of the World Series.
That means an impact in a number of different ways – not only the outcome, but what the World Series odds will be at Bookmaker.eu.
Clay Buchholz has mentioned during the week that the plan is for him to pitch in Sunday night’s Game 4, and his comments raised a few eyebrows. Buchholz told a Boston Globe reporter that “I might only have one start left but I’ll give it everything I have. I should be OK, but at the same time, if I feel like I can’t help the team, I’m not going to go out there.”
Major League Baseball bettors who have been following the Red Sox and Buchholz this season know that he was on his way to being a legitimate contender for the Cy Young Award when he suffered a neck injury. He missed three months with that, although he was named to the American League All-Star team.
On May 1, Buchholz was 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA and his award looked like it was forthcoming. His ERA climbed a little throughout the month, and after a solid effort against the Angels on June 8, he had gone through a decent stretch where he had given up just two runs on 13 hits in 18-2/3 innings. That brought him to a 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA. On the road he was 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA, and the opposition batted .140 against him.
As a right-hander though, he plays into the strength of the Cardinals, who racked up a 78-42 record against righty starters.
Buchholz went through rehabilitation and threw “bullpens,” but had a hard time getting rid of the discomfort.
When he came back to the rotation he was pretty impressive. In September he allowed five earned runs and 18 hits in his 24 innings of work. The regular season numbers were great, as Buchholz went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.02. As such, he cashed for a lot of baseball bettors.
His numbers have inflated quite a bit in the post-season, however. The Red Sox have won two of his three starts, but he’s had a 5.40 ERA. And there was no evidence that he could go more than six innings. The word was that four miles had been trimmed off his fastball, which can make the difference between strikeouts and home runs from the standpoint of the guy in the batter’s box. That has brought up some questions as to whether Buchholz should be out there at all.
Boston is not expecting a lot of output from him. Manager John Farrell is looking to see if Buchholz can go four innings in Game 4. After that he will hand the ball over to a reliever like Felix Doubront, and let the rest of the bullpen take over after that. The Cardinals may be looking at a hodge-podge of pitchers too, including Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and others.
Buchholz has neck and shoulder ailments, and those are difficult to sort out when the weather is nippy. So whatever Farrell says or intends to do, it might wind up being a game-time decision on his would-be ace. If he can’t go, Doubront would get the start, in all likelihood.
Doubront is a southpaw, and the Cards, who lost to Jon Lester in Game 1, had a 19-23 record against left-handed starters and hit just .238 against left-handed pitching – two figures which are rather unusual for any team in a World Series, much less a team that led its league with 97 victories.
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