The World Series heads back to Boston for Game 6 with the Red Sox holding a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven contest. If the Sox can hold off the RedBirds Wednesday night, it will mark the first time since 1918 that the club has sealed a championship at home.
The Cardinals send Game 2 winner Michael Wacha back to the hill in the hopes that he can extend their season by another day. On the flip side, the Sox will again counter Wacha with veteran right-hander John Lackey, who is 1-0 all-time in his very small sample of World Series elimination games.
St. Louis is more or less going with the same lineup Wednesday that they used against Lackey in Game 2:
The only change in the batting order between Game 2 and Game 6 is that Allen Craig and Matt Adams have switched places. Craig is back in the cleanup spot -- where he's batted in Game 1 -- while Adams moves to the six hole for the first time this series.
Moving back to Fenway also gives Craig the opportunity to rest his injured foot by DHing, which could help him stay healthier as the game moves along.
Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina have done most of the damage for the Cardinals in this series, but they may need the bottom half of the lineup to chip in Wednesday if they want to stay alive for another day. With that in mind, lefty batters Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso are back in the lineup for Game 6 to give St. Louis the platoon advantage at the bottom of the lineup.
Now that the Red Sox are back on American League soil, manager John Farrell has reverted to a more normal starting lineup:
First and foremost, David Ortiz is back at designated hitter, meaning Mike Napoli can re-establish residency at the cold corner (for which the rest of the infield is probably grateful). Ortiz is on the cusp of setting all sorts of offensive records for the World Series, but most of those hinge on the Cardinals actually pitching to the red-hot slugger.
Shane Victorino, who's been out with back tightness the last two games, is back in right field Wednesday. He's been bumped out of his usual No. 2 spot, however, which probably has as much to do with his injury as his 0-for-10 mark thus far in the series -- Red Sox right fielders are 0-for-18 overall.
Jonny Gomes is in the lineup against a right-hander yet again despite his consistent struggles against them all series (and his entire career). His one hit this series -- a three-run homer in Game 3 -- was a big one, and right-handed hitters typically fare much better at Fenway than lefties (see: Green Monster), so it seems Farrell believes those factors outweigh his deficiencies at the plate.