ST. LOUIS — Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 on Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox all agree on that. Beyond that, nothing is certain.
Buchholz did his usual pre-start work on Saturday, which included throwing off the mound. That was the final hurdle for his being cleared to pitch.
“Based on the conversations [Friday] with him and throughout the whole period that we’re focusing on, with each throwing session that confidence gains and grows along with the intensity,” manager John Farrell said. “Whatever he is capable of, he feels like he’ll be able to give it.”
Buchholz missed three months with bursitis in his shoulder. He returned to make four starts in September and pitched fairly well. But Buchholz has a 5.40 earned run average in three postseason starts and showed diminished velocity and stamina.
Buchholz last pitched on Oct. 19 against Detroit in the American League Championship Series. He lasted only five innings and 85 pitches. Buchholz has been getting treatment in the days since.
“My one thing that I have is to go and compete. Go out there for as long as John wants to leave me out there, and give the team a chance to win to the best of my ability,” Buchholz said.
“Obviously given the couple of days that I’ve been out so far, not a 100 percent. But I’ve said it a couple of times this year, I don’t think anybody, especially at this time of the season, is a hundred percent.
“It’s going to be my first World Series experience being on the field, and I think that just the environment, the crowd, the adrenaline, that’s going to help me out, too.”
Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster, starters during the regular season, could pitch long relief if needed for the Sox.
Farrell admitted that the Red Sox had “some conversation” about the idea of starting Jon Lester on three days’ rest. But that idea never took hold.
“History shows that’s not been successful,” Farrell said. “From a broader perspective on Lester, the last seven, eight weeks of the season he pitched on [five] days’ rest the entire time.
“He went on [four] days’ rest against Detroit [in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series], a little bit different stuff. It was noticeable. I recognize we’re in the World Series; I recognize the time of the year. I would rather have Jon Lester with normal rest than three days of rest.”