Cardinals will try to gain upper hand as World Series shifts to St. Louis

News-DemocratOctober 26, 2013 

Cards infielder Daniel Descalso talks about Joe Kelly pitching Game 4 of the World Series Saturday.

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— Mike Matheny is a big believer in the power of momentum.

The St. Louis Cardinals manager, therefore, has positive vibes heading into Game 3 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis rallied from a 2-1 deficit with a three-run seventh Thursday as it pulled out a 4-2 victory in Game 2, evening the series at one win apiece.

"It would have been tough to overcome," Matheny said of a potential Game 2 loss that would have put the Cardinals behind 2-0. "But fortunately, we were able to turn the tide.

"Momentum seems to be a big conversation this time of the year. I believe in it. I believe in the fact that we can try and ride a positive of coming back in a game like that and then watching our guys take advantage of the opportunity."

Right-hander Joe Kelly will be on the mound for the Cardinals. Kelly, who is 0-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three postseason starts, will face right-hander Jake Peavy (0-1, 8.31 ERA in two playoff starts).

Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Friday that David Ortiz, whose two-run homer against Michael Wacha in the sixth put Boston ahead 2-1 on Thursday, will be his first baseman for Game 3.

Ortiz was the designated hitter the first two games, but his start at first base will send Mike Napoli to the bench.

Napoli batted .259 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs, while Ortiz batted .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs. Ortiz is a poor defender, but his bat is a difference-maker. He has five homers, 12 RBIs and a .392 on-base percentage in 41 at-bats this postseason.

"David has got a long career that we all lean on, and the success that he's having in this postseason is (something) to take advantage of," said Farrell, adding that Daniel Nava (.303, 12 home runs, 66 RBIs in the regular season) will start in left for Jonny Gomes (.247-13-42).

Kelly said it doesn't matter who is in the Red Sox lineup because "they're very, very good hitters."

"Every single hitter in this lineup is very, very dangerous, from top to bottom," Kelly said. "I don't know how well their pitchers hit, but you obviously can't take anybody lightly."

The Cardinals will be without one of their big bats, too. Matheny said Allen Craig, despite fielding some ground balls at first base, probably isn't in condition to play in the field.

Craig was the Cardinals' designated hitter in the first two games of the series, going 2-for-7. He had not played since Sept. 4.

If Craig doesn't play, Matt Adams will be back at first base.

"We've got a lot of confidence with Kelly going and the way we've been playing," Adams said. "We're excited to get back out there.

"I've got to show up and be ready to play. Nothing's changed. We hope (Craig) is back out there. He's a key part of this team. It was fun to see him out there playing in those two games at Fenway."

Peavy is 3-4 with a 2.97 ERA in nine career starts against the Cardinals. He last faced them on June 13, 2012, when he lost 1-0 at Busch Stadium while pitching for the Chicago White Sox.

"We had a lot of respect for this St. Louis organization (and) team coming in," Peavy said. "We knew we were getting a class organization, a class group of guys, very well-coached and (they) play the game the right way. Watching the way they go about their business is fun. I think both teams do it very simular."

Peavy was acquired by the Red Sox at the trade deadline and was rumored to be coming to St. Louis.

"I know it was a pretty serious conversation I guess they were having in St. Louis," Peavy said. "I was obviously excited about the opportunity to be moved simply because of the situation I was in (with) Chicago. ... St. Louis is a city, a team, an organization that I've always respected. I love the National League style of game."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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