Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged on Wednesday that Clay Buchholz is dealing with an injury, but the righthander will start Game 4 of the World Series, with Jake Peavy going in Game 3.
Buchholz said he experienced tightness in his shoulder in his last start, which was Saturday in Game 6 against the Tigers in the ALDS. He went just five innings, allowing four hits and two runs in the Sox’ series-clinching victory.
Buchholz said he has been working with the Sox trainers.
“Our plan is for me to pitch Sunday,’’ Buchholz said. “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.’’
Farrell chose his words carefully when asked before Game 1 of the World Series if Buchholz is injured.
“Not to the point of keeping him out of starting,” he said.
So, there is some kind of issue?
“Not to the point where he’s not going to pitch,” Farrell repeated.
Farrell initially said the Red Sox were waiting to name their Game 3 starter because they wanted to decide what style of pitcher would be most effective following Game 2 starter John Lackey. But then Farrell acknowledged that there were physical reasons, too.
“If we feel that an additional day of rest for either is beneficial, we’re certainly going to take advantage of that,” Farrell said.
Peavy has not pitched since going three innings Oct. 16. It’s highly unlikely that he would need extra rest.
Buchholz struggled after throwing 74 pitches over four innings in his first postseason start. In his second start, Buchholz wore down after throwing 62 pitches over five innings. In his third start, on Saturday, the problems popped up after 74 pitches and five innings.
In all three cases he lost command and some velocity. Buchholz missed three months this season with a shoulder injury before returning in September and making four starts.
Buchholz also worked at an extraordinarily slow pace in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and made repeated pickoff throws with runners on first. That is often a sign a pitcher is in some discomfort.
“I think just the intensity of each pitch . . . you combine that with the high number of pickoffs and you’re starting to add to the total number of throws,” Farrell said. “What it shows is the intensity. Whether there’s also a mental fatigue part that’s coming into that because there’s so much energy spent on controlling that side of it. We’re working through those things to try to make that a little bit more at ease.”
Farrell also claimed that the three-inning simulated game Felix Doubront threw Tuesday was scheduled and not related to Buchholz’s questionable status. Doubront will not be available out of the bullpen until Game 2 as a result.
Lefthander Matt Thornton, who is not on the playoff roster, threw on Tuesday.
It appeared the Red Sox were preparing Doubront in case he is needed to make a start. It would be unusual for a team to purposely make a reliever unavailable for a game.
Doubront has thrown only 3⅔ innings in the last month, counting the postseason. Farrell said it’s uncertain how much the lefthander could pitch if he made a start.
John Lackey ready
Lackey will be making is first World Series start since Game 7 in 2002, when he beat the Giants while a member of the Angels. Now, at age 35, Lackey appreciates the opportunity like never before.
“I guess the main thing is you realize how hard it is to get here. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been here,” he said. “Been chasing it for a while, and you probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie.”
Lackey was brilliant in Game 3 of the ALCS, throwing 6⅔ scoreless innings and giving four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Lackey has a 3.10 earned run average in 16 postseason appearances. He has come to enjoy taking the mound in October.
“It’s not a normal game. It’s a playoff game,” he said. “It’s a big game, for sure. It’s going to be cold and it’s just that feeling in the air that it’s October and it’s different. You’ve got to embrace that, have fun with it, and go get after it.”
Lackey has never faced the Cardinals. The only St. Louis hitters he has faced are Matt Holliday (0 for 7) and Carlos Beltran (0 for 9).
Lackey was eager to watch Jon Lester pitch in Game 1 and enjoy the atmosphere of the Series. Thursday, he said would be all business.
Lackey laughed when asked what he has enjoyed about this trip to the postseason.
“It’s a good group to party with. We do pretty good,” he said.
Daniel Nava in Game 3?
Daniel Nava was out of the lineup for the seventh time in 11 postseason games as Jonny Gomes remained in left field. But Farrell said the bigger outfield in St. Louis could lead to Nava starting there . . . Rookie third baseman Xander Bogaerts, 21, is the youngest player to start a Series game since 20-year-old Miguel Cabrera in 2003 for the Marlins.
As is befitting Game 1 of the World Series, the pregame ceremonies were elaborate.
After the teams were introduced, Mary J. Blige performed the national anthem. As she finished, four F-18 Hornet fighters flew over Fenway Park.
Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, wearing his familiar No. 8 jersey, threw out the first pitch to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That had to be record for most letters in a first-pitch battery.
Three Medal of Honor winners — Salvatore Giunta, Clinton Romesha, and William Swenson — joined Yaz on the mound.
Deon Singletary of the West End House Boys & Girls Club delivered the game ball to the mound along with Red Sox legend Luis Tiant.
James Taylor will perform the anthem before Game 2. Several members of the 2004 Red Sox will throw out first pitches. Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Millar were among the ’04 Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Curt Schilling was there, too, working for ESPN.
Helping out veterans
Hall of Famer Jim Rice, Timlin, team chairman Tom Werner, and commissioner Bud Selig will visit the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital on Thursday afternoon to meet with veterans affiliated with the Home Base program. The Red Sox also are assisting with events being held by Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Club of Roslindale as part of the Series . . . There was a moment of silence before the game for slain Danvers High teacher Colleen Ritzer.
Game 1 brought out the celebrities. Local products Ken Casey, Matt Damon, John King, Mike O’Malley, John Slattery, and Micky Ward were at Fenway along with Patriots Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich, and Matthew Slater, and team owner Robert Kraft. Actors Jon Hamm, Timothy Hutton, and Rob Lowe took in the game, as did singers Kenny Chesney and Nick Jonas . . . Major League Baseball issued more than 1,800 media credentials for the game with 16 countries represented. . . The Red Sox obtained outfielder Alex Castellanos from the Dodgers for Triple A outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker and cash. Castellanos appeared in eight games for Los Angeles this season, going 3 for 18 with a home run. The 27-year-old has 24 games of major league experience. He hit .257 for Triple A Albuquerque this season with 19 homers and 19 steals. Castellanos had been designated for assignment by the Dodgers. He is a former 10th-round draft pick of the Cardinals. Righthander Pedro Beato was designated for assignment to make room for Castellanos on the 40-man roster. Hazelbaker, 26, hit .257 with 11 homers and 37 steals for Pawtucket. The Sox would have had to place Hazelbaker on the 40-man this winter or expose him to the Rule 5 draft.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.