World Series Cardinals-Red Sox Game 2 preview: Wacha vs. Lackey

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

It's the rookie Michael Wacha against the veteran John Lackey.
It's the rookie Michael Wacha against the veteran John Lackey. (USATSI)

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BOSTON -- The Cardinals and Red Sox are set to do battle in Game 2 of the 2013 World Series at 8:07 p.m. ET in Boston's venerable Fenway Park. The Red Sox lead the series, 1-0, by virtue of their blowout Game 1 victory, but the best-of-7 series is far from over.

So we head to Game 2, with veteran Red Sox starter John Lackey getting the ball while the visiting Cardinals send rookie Michael Wacha to the hill.

Let's take a look.

Lackey vs. Cardinals

The 6-foot-6 righty was outstanding last time out, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings and pitching well enough for his team to beat Justin Verlander during the ALCS.

In looking at the whole picture, it's good news for Lackey that he's getting the ball at home. During the regular season, Lackey was two whole earned runs better at home (2.47 ERA) than on the road (4.48 ERA).

Lackey has never faced the Cardinals and thus has very limited history against the individual hitters. He has faced Carlos Beltran 12 times and Matt Holliday eight times. The duo are a combined 0 for 16 with three walks and a sac fly against him.

Lackey has been a quality postseason performer in his career, as he sports a 3.10 ERA in 90 postseason innings pitched. He threw well in Game 7 of the World Series in 2002 as a rookie. Not that it matters. Just ask him.

"Not a whole lot," Lackey said when asked what he could take away from his Game 7 start. "That I'm old, I guess. You remember parts of it, but I've been in the playoffs several times. One more step this time."

"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. Been chasing it a while and you probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie."

Wacha vs. Red Sox

As I've already written, no Red Sox players have ever seen Wacha and he's a very unfamiliar foe to them.

He has only made four career starts on the road and has been worse than at home, but his last road start was a playoff game in Pittsburgh where he nearly threw a perfect game against the Pirates. He isn't fazed by the big stage, and he even said as much Wednesday.

"I want the ball in big situations," Wacha said before Game 1. "There's none bigger than the World Series. I'm excited about getting it and I think every guy on our team wants the ball in these kinds of situations."

So, again, there's essentially nothing to go off of here. The Red Sox were pretty unfamiliar with Adam Wainwright in Game 1 and were just fine, but that doesn't mean they'll definitely crack Wacha. It just shows that it doesn't mean they can't.

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