Found October 30, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
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John Lackey has the opportunity tonight to close out the World Series for the second time in his career. One more win. One more win and the Boston Red Sox will be World Series Champions. Considering how last season went, this would be quite the accomplishment for a team that is now built on character and work ethic and not whining and boozing. While this Red Sox season has been far better than any fan could have imagined there is still a game to play tonight and possibly and hopefully not tomorrow. Of course closing it out tonight would be a best case scenario and should be a priority for the Sox. Rookie Michael Wacha is on the mound for the Cardinals and he has been great this year while only being drafted 15 months ago. The Sox send John Lackey to the mound to try and close out the series, which I find somewhat fitting to this Red Sox team. Lackey seemed to be a great excuse to why the Red Sox collapsed in 2011, the culture that we thought he brought with him and brought his teammates while the starting pitchers formed cliques while boozing and playing video games in the clubhouse on days they weren’t pitching. Well come to find out Lackey was pitching 2011 with a torn elbow for most of the season and missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery. He traveled with the team all of last year and some questioned why. I thought that was the beginning of his turnaround. He could have been at home but he was with his team. Exit Beckett, Crawford, and Gonzalez in late August and Lackey began his rehab around that time. He showed up to spring training in February, 20 pounds lighter and the Red Sox fans and staff began turning the page on Lackey. Lackey’s season was based around poor run support but for most of the season he was the Red Sox most consistent starter and finished the season with a record of 10-13 and a 3.52 ERA. Stats that I thought Lackey was capable of and he surely was counted on more with Clay Buchholz missing three months. Well tonight he has the chance to pitch in a close out game of the World Series like he did for the Angels his rookie season in 2002. The pressure is on John Farrell tonight to make the right moves and putting David Ortiz in the three spot of the lineup I believe is the right move. Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino return to the lineup after Ortiz played first in St. Louis and Victorino sat with a sore back. Both of them returning I believe will effect this game greatly with Napoli batting cleanup after Ortiz and Victorino dropped down to the six spot to lengthen the lineup as well as take pressure of him. Mike Matheny the Cardinals manager will have a short leash with his pitchers as this could be his teams last game this season. Expect the Cardinals to throw the kitchen sink at the Red Sox and pitchers might not have a lot of time to prove themselves like the Rays in the first round. Same goes for the Red Sox as Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz might make an appearance out of the bullpen tonight. The last time a Game 6 of the World Series was played at Fenway Park Carlton Fisk hit a walkf off home run. Of course Red Sox fans are no stranger to Game 6 of the World Series. 1975 the famous Carlton Fisk home run to force a Game 7 against the Reds. And 1986, well you know the story. Hopefully with Carlton Fisk throwing out the first pitch tonight the Red Sox can capture some fortune of the 1975 turnout and not the 1986 turnout. The Red Sox have the opportunity to close out the World Series at home for the first time since 1918. With that, tickets are at record highs with just a get in price of $800 at minimum. Here are my three keys to each team winning tonight: The Red Sox will win if: Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia can get on in front of David Ortiz forcing the Cardinals to pitch to the slugger who is on fire. John Lackey can pitch into the seventh lining up John Farrell with easier decisions in the bullpen. The Red Sox can get something out of the bottom three in the order Bogaerts, Drew, and Ross like they did in Game 5. The Cardinals will win if: Michael Wacha keeps his pitch count down and lasts into the seventh. Carlos Beltran can come up with a big hit and continue his great postseason fame. David Freese comes out of his long postseason slump and captures some magic like he did in the World Series of 2011. Prediction: Michael Wacha will pitch well but not well enough for the Cardinals and the Sox offense will get to the Cardinals fire-baller.  John Lackey will keep up his great postseason starts and the Red Sox offense will get a huge hit from a unexpected source and win the World Series!   The post World Series Game 6 Preview: Sox Look to Close out World Series Tonight appeared first on Boston Sports Then & Now.
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