BOSTON – Shane Victorino sat out Games 4 and 5 of the World Series in St. Louis with what was described as tightness in his lower back. Manager John Farrell expects to have his right fielder back for Game 6 at Fenway Park Wednesday night.
“He was available [for Game 5],” Farrell said Tuesday afternoon before the team’s workout at Fenway. “There was no restrictions as far as the type of play. In other words, he wasn’t restricted to defense only or at the plate only. We fully expect him to be full go [for Game 6].”
As he did in Games 1 and 2 at Fenway, Farrell expects to go with Jonny Gomes, over Daniel Nava, in left field.
Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, who beat the Sox in Game 2, is the scheduled Game 6. In the regular season, Wacha allowed righties to hit .242 with a .293 on-base percentage, and .417 slugging percentage. Against lefties those numbers were .197/.254/.239.
Against right-handers this season, the switch-hitting Nava batted .322/.411/.484 as a lefty. The right-handed hitting Gomes hit .258/.341/.404. He was hitless against Wacha in Game 2.
“I can't say that it's because of matchups in Game 2,” Farrell said. “Wacha was tough on all of us. But you get to the point where you look at the style of the pitcher on the mound in Wacha. And you look at what certain hitters in our lineup are more equipped to handle. And even though you might say, well, it's a left‑handed hitter, he should be in there. But I like the matchup of Gomes versus Nava. That doesn't mean at some point in the game that Nava is not going to be involved. But that's the way we're going right now.”
In Game 2 Wacha, who turned 22 in July, went six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts, and a home run.
“He's had the postseason he's had because he's an extremely talented guy,” Farrell said. “And when you consider not just Wacha but their young pitchers, they've done a great job of meeting the challenge they're thrown into. And that includes the environment in which they pitch. We know he's going to come at us ‑‑ we have some familiarity. Obviously Game 2 was a set of experiences that we can draw that from. How he responds tomorrow, we fully expect him to be as equal to the way he was in Game 2. He's a heck of a looking pitcher, there's no doubt.”
Farrell will also be getting first baseman Mike Napoli back into his starting lineup.
“I think both lineups are going to be extended by a power bat,” Farrell said. “[Cardinals first baseman Allen] Craig will have his opportunities. With Mike Napoli at first it gives us some additional range. And David Ortiz did a great job at first base. Without having the game log in front of me, I don't know the last time he's played three consecutive days at first base. He's come through it well physically. But getting one of our middle‑of‑the‑order bats back to us, we're hopeful that it really has a chance to extend the lineup even that much more.”
On Ortiz’s three consecutive days in the starting lineup at first base, Farrell said:
“David's a heck of a player. And I think a lot of times because he's been the DH for so many years here, that's the view of him. And yet he came up through the Minor Leagues as a first baseman. He goes over there in interleague play when we're on the road without hesitation. He's got very good hands. And sometimes I think people just kind of look at him physically and say, you know what, he doesn't have range or he can't move. And that's not the case at all. Like I said, three consecutive days, and the way he's swung the bat is second to none.”
Left-hander Felix Doubront pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief in Game 4, giving up one run on a hit with no walks and three strikeouts to earn the win. He threw 32 pitches, 20 strikes. It is his only World Series appearance so far. Farrell said Doubront will be available for Game 6.
Whether or not Jon Lester, who went 7 2/3 innings, earning the win in Game 5, is available for Game 7 remains to be determined. Farrell said he would have to talk with Lester after the team’s workout “to find out where he is physically.” Despite his stellar performance in Game 5, Lester has been hampered by back soreness.
“I'll have a better feel about that once we get through the workout [Tuesday],” Farrell said.
The Cardinals flight to Boston was delayed several hours on Tuesday afternoon because of mechanical issues with the charter plane. The Cardinals were supposed to depart at 1 p.m. St. Louis time, but did not take off until after 7 p.m.