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Thursday’s Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 2 matchups: John Lackey vs. Michael Wacha

10.24.13 at 10:50 am ET
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When John Lackey takes the mound for Game 2, not only will he have the daunting task of slowing the Cardinals’€™ explosive offense, he’€™ll have to beat arguably the hottest postseason pitcher in Michael Wacha.

Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) and Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) square off one day after the Red Sox took a 1-0 series lead with a 8-1 win at Fenway Park. Game 2 also takes place at Fenway at 8:07 p.m.

Most recently, Lackey outdueled the Tigers‘€™ Justin Verlander on Oct. 15 in Game 3 of the ALCS. With the series tied at one game apiece, Lackey tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings in Boston’€™s 1-0 win. He allowed just four hits with zero walks and struck out eight.

After facing a first-inning jam, Lackey allowed just two hits in his final 5 2/3 innings. In the bottom of the seventh, with Boston leading 1-0, Lackey retired Prince Fielder, gave up a single to Victor Martinez and induced a fly out before being pulled for Craig Breslow. The lefty walked Alex Avila, but then Omar Infante grounded out to end the rally. Mike Napoli‘€™s seventh-inning solo home run was enough, as the Red Sox went on to win.

“The guys came through and my boy took care of me once again,” Lackey said of Napoli. “He’s hit some dingers for me, and it was a big one today.”

Lackey started Game 2 of the ALDS vs. the Rays on Oct. 5. He picked up the win despite getting roughed up a bit. Tampa Bay pushed across four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against Lackey, but Boston’€™s offense backed him in the team’€™s 7-4 win.

Lackey did not face the Cardinals this season, nor has he faced them in 337 career regular-season and postseason starts with the Red Sox and Angels.

Providing Lackey with run support will be difficult against Wacha, who’€™s allowed just one run in three postseason starts thus far.

The rookie comes off an NLCS Game 6 win at Busch Field on Oct. 18, as he stymied the Dodgers in seven innings of work. Wacha did not allow a run, and Los Angeles only managed two hits while striking out five times against Wacha.

Wacha earned two of the four wins in the NLCS. He claimed Game 2 at St. Louis on Oct. 12, behind a 6 2/3-inning, eight-strikeout shutout performance.

The only run Wacha allowed in his 21 postseason innings was during the NLDS series vs. the Pirates. But he allowed just one run — and one hit — in 7 1/3 innings and added nine strikeouts in Game 4 at Pittsburgh on Oct. 7.

Wacha bounced back and forth between the Cardinals — for whom he split time between starting and relieving — and the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds this season, before earning a permanent spot in St. Louis’€™ rotation at the start of September.

This will be Wacha’€™s first career start vs. the Red Sox.

Cardinals vs. Lackey (RHP)

Carlos Beltran (12): .000/.167/.000, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Matt Holliday (8): .000/.125/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

No other Cardinals hitters have faced Lackey.

Red Sox vs. Wacha (RHP)

No Red Sox have faced Wacha.

Read More: alex avila, Craig Breslow, john lackey, justin verlander
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