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World Series Game 4 Preview: Cardinals, Red Sox Regroup After Controversial Ending

World Series Game 4 Preview

World Series – Game 4
Boston at St. Louis
8:15 ET Fox
Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97)

After one of the strangest endings in postseason history, the Cardinals emerged with a two-games-to-one lead heading to Game 4 tonight. The Cardinals look to take a commanding three-games-to-one lead behind starter Lance Lynn. Boston counters with Clay Buchholz, who was the Red Sox ace for the first half of the season. Both teams pretty much emptied their bullpens last night, so there’s more pressure on the starters tonight.

Keys for Boston
Forget about the tough loss last night. Convince themselves that the “whole world is against us,” and use that mentality to galvanize this team in order to begin an incredible run. And manager John Farrell can’t allow his team to lose a close game without firing one of his hottest bullets in Mike Napoli. Farrell, who should have made a double switch if he wanted relief pitcher Brandon Workman to throw more than one inning, allowed Workman to bat for the only time in his professional career in the ninth inning. Farrell can’t get caught like that again. Buchholz, who has appeared to be uncomfortable while throwing on the side this week, must give Boston a strong outing.

Keys for St. Louis
Lynn must have good command and control in the strike zone. If he’s pounding the zone early in counts, Boston’s patience will allow him to get ahead of hitters and that’s when Lynn is effective. If he falls behind too many hitters, this could be Shelby Miller’s game early.

Red Sox to Watch
Buchholz will be watched closely from the first pitch tonight by Farrell. If he can’t give the Sox maximum effort, expect veteran Ryan Dempster to be thrown into the spotlight. Whoever hits behind David Ortiz — most likely Daniel Nava — must make the Cardinals pay for pitching around Big Papi. It was evident in Game 3 that St. Louis pitchers were not going to let Ortiz beat them. That also adds pressure to Dustin Pedroia, who hits in front of Ortiz. All it took was a few miscues in the field to allow St. Louis to score, so the Red Sox must play a clean game on defense. When will Boston test Yadier Molina? The stolen base was such a big part of Boston’s offense all season, but they’ve yet to test the Cardinals’ catcher.

Cardinals to Watch
Expect the Red Sox to begin giving Matt Holliday the Ortiz treatment — pitching around him. That would mean that Matt Adams, Yadier Molina, who had three hits in Game 3, and David Freese would see more critical at-bats. The more Matheny goes to his bullpen, the more likely it will be for Shelby Miller to find his way to the mound in high leverage situations.

Key Stats
Shane Victorino, who is hitless in the series, has been hit once and walked once. He scored both times…Game 3 was the 18th time in Ortiz’s career that he has reached base three times via hit or walk. The Red Sox are now 12-6 in those games, losing the last two…St. Louis is 2-2 in Lynn’s four postseason starts…With 123 steals during the regular season, Boston has yet to attempt a steal in the World Series. With a scant 45 stolen bases this season, St. Louis has pilfered three…In the first three games, the Red Sox have 18 hits, nine walks and 28 strikeouts…Game 3 marked only the second time in World Series history that a team had two blown saves, yet still won the game. The first time was Game 7 in 1960.