MLB World Series Game 4 Preview

13bd0c08-6e66-413e-8334-8a3e231cef46-460x276BOSTON RED SOX (105-70) at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (106-70) Line & Total: Boston -108 & 7.5 over -120

                                                                                                                                              After one of the most bizarre endings in World Series history gave the Cardinals a 2-1 series lead, the Red Sox will try and even it up in Game 4 on Sunday night.<P>

The Cardinals took Game 3 in a highly dramatic finish when Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for obstruction on base runner Allen Craig in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday when an errant throw went into left field. The call sent Craig home and the Cardinals to a 5-4 home win. However, Craig injured his foot on the play and is unlikely to be available for Game 4. Looking to give them a commanding 3-1 series lead, Lance Lynn (16-11, 4.09 ERA) takes the hill Sunday, and he’s always happy to pitch at home, where he had a 9-4 record (team 12-5), 3.13 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Facing him will be Clay Buchholz (12-1, 2.23 ERA), who was absolutely brilliant this year before and after an injury sidelined him for a couple months. He was actually better on the road in 2013 with a 6-0 mark (team 7-1), 1.76 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Overall, the Cardinals love playing at home where they now have a 60-28 record (.682) this year. Even after Saturday’s loss, the Red Sox still own the majors’ third-best road record at 47-40 (.540). <P>

Buchholz (1.08 WHIP) might have been a Cy Young candidate this year if he could have stayed healthy, leading Boston to a 16-3 record in his 19 starts. He has now fanned 111 batters in 125 innings while walking 41 and giving up just seven long balls. Most impressively, he only gave up 94 hits in those 125 innings. Buchholz has struggled some in the playoffs, however. While the Red Sox are 2-1 in his starts this October, he has yet to rack up a decision, carrying a 5.40 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Including one start in 2009, he has a career 4.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in the postseason. He has no career experience against the Cardinals batters, though he should watch out for C Yadier Molina, who went 3-for-4 in Saturday’s Game 3 and now has a .417 BA this World Series. Buchholz averaged an impressive 6.6 innings per start this season and may need to go deep in this one as the Red Sox bullpen gave up three runs (two earned) on Saturday while covering for Jake Peavy, who made it only four innings. Still, the unit has been generally fantastic this postseason with a 1.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.<P>

Lynn (1.34 WHIP) has won 16 games this year (team is 20-15 when he starts) despite not pitching especially well, though there’s no doubting his ability to miss bats. He has 209 strikeouts in 211.1 innings while he has walked 82 batters and given up 202 hits. At home, he gave up only four home runs in 106.1 IP while posting a 1.22 WHIP. He has been unimpressive this postseason though, appearing in three games and starting two. In those outings, he has a 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP, following up the 2012 postseason when in six appearances (two starts) he had a subpar 5.73 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. He was better in 2011, though, with a 3.27 ERA in 10 relief appearances, bringing his entire playoff career stats to 5-3, 4.81 ERA, 1.63 WHIP with 32 K’s and 18 BB’s in 33.2 innings. He has never started against the Red Sox in his career, but he’ll have to watch out for 1B David Ortiz, who already has two homers and 5 RBI this series. Lynn has the benefit of the Cardinals bullpen that has a stellar 2.27 ERA and 0.83 WHIP this postseason, but did allow two runs and five base-runners in 3.2 innings in Game 3.<P>

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