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By BRENDAN McGAIR
BOSTON â The Red Sox have already seen St. Louis rookie sensation Michael Wacha once in this World Series. The question heading into Wednesday nightâs Game 6 rematch is whether the Boston hitters will be better equipped to handle the Cardinals player who stands between them and a championship.
âI donât know that our approach will change. The one thing that will clearly be different is at least some familiarity,â said Red Sox manager John Farrell prior to Game 6. âYou can watch all the video and read all the scouting reports you want, but until a guy stands in the box and see the flight of the baseball and feels the velocity and feels the action to that change-up, thatâs the best information they can have as they step in here.â
Other than allowing a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the sixth inning of Game 2, the 22-year-old Wacha silenced the Red Sox to the tune of two runs on three hits in six innings. Such dominance has been a regular occurrence during the postseason, as Wacha took a 4-0 mark and a 1.00 ERA into Wednesdayâs must-win contest for the Cardinals.
âWe all knew going into his last start that he had great stuff. We watched video and seen whatâs done so far in the playoffs,â said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. âWeâre trying to make adjustments pitch by pitch because we havenât seen him, and that part can be hard when he has overpowering stuff.
âHopefully this time around we have better at-bats than last time and to make our adjustments quicker,â added Pedroia.
The Red Sox did make some noticeable changes to the lineup, though none of them had to do with who was on the mound for the Cardinals. Farrell opted to move Shane Victorino to the sixth spot â the outfielder will see his first game action since Saturday night â while moving Pedroia to the No. 2 spot.
The Red Sox lineup looks like this: 1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF; 2. Dustin Pedroia 2B: 3. David Ortiz DH; 4. Mike Napoli 1B; 5. Jonny Gomes; 6. Shane Victorino RF; 7. Xander Bogaerts 3B; 8. Stephen Drew SS; 9. David Ross C. Starting pitcher: John Lackey.
St. Louis lineup: 1. Matt Carpenter 2B; 2. Carlos Beltran RF; 3. Matt Holliday; 4. Allen Craig DH; 5. Yadier Molina; 6. Matt Adams; 7. David Freese 3B; 8. Jon Jay CF; 9. Daniel Descalso SS; Starting pitcher: Michael Wacha
No Red Sox fan wants to hear about talk of a possible seventh and deciding game, which would take place Thursday night at Fenway. Still, there has to be a backup plan just in case such a scenario turns into reality.
To that end, Farrell announced that Jake Peavy would start Game 7 for Boston. Jon Lester would also be available to pitch.
âAnd everybody else is available in the bullpen,â Farrell stated.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03