Even with a resurgent John Lackey starting Wednesday night in hopes of leading the
"They know the urgency," pitching coach Juan Nieves said. "They know what's at stake. It's wonderful that guys are stepping up.''
Lackey, with plenty of support from his teammates, could fully celebrate his comeback from reconstructive right elbow surgery with a victory over the
The contributions of Lackey, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of five-hit ball in Game 2 and a scoreless eighth inning in Game 4 at
"That's the way it is in the playoffs," said Nieves, who has blended well in his first season as Red Sox pitching coach after five seasons as the
Facing a 2-1 deficit in the Series with endurance-challenged
Buchholz was coping with right shoulder tightness and a decline in velocity, but the Red Sox were willing to start him because of the willingness of starters to relieve, such as Lackey and left-hander Felix Doubront.
Doubront, who started 29 games in each of the last two seasons, has played a huge role as a left-handed reliever in the postseason because of the struggles of veteran
Doubront, 26, pitched 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Games 3 and 4. His durability and dependability gave Farrell more freedom to pinch-hit for
Perhaps the biggest benefit for the Red Sox is that a seven-game series with two days off has enabled them to stretch their pitching resources.
"Even though Lackey is a guy who is coming off Tommy John surgery, we kept him around 180 innings [189 2/3]," Nieves said. "He is used to throwing 230 to 250 innings. The way he is fit and trains, it gives us the flexibility to use him.
"But in a seven-game series, you always have flexibility to use your starters [in relief], especially a guy like Doubront who has been the fourth or fifth starter, and Lackey in non-stressful situations."