St. Louis Cardinals

August 3, 2014

Joe Kelly to take mound for Red Sox against close friend Shelby Miller

Right-hander Joe Kelly, traded with right fielder/first baseman Allen Craig to Boston on Thursday for John Lackey, will start for the Red Sox against close friend Shelby Miller of the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday

Kelly and Miller were in each other's weddings during the offseason, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Saturday that he expects Kelly and Miller to easily put aside their friendship and focus on the task at hand.

"There's too much on the line for us to start thinking that sort of thing plays," Matheny said. "This is their career, it's their future, it's their team and it's their pride. They can't amp it up or make it extra-special.

"It can be a distraction because topics are going to come up, and those can get in the way. Hopefully, we're going to pass the test and Shelby will just be able to focus on making pitches."

Miller is coming off a strong performance in the Cardinals' 6-2 victory at San Diego on Thursday, hours after Kelly was traded.

Jay on mend

Center fielder Jon Jay remained out of action Saturday because of a tender left wrist. Jay last played Tuesday.

"He's better today," Matheny said Saturday. "It's just something that's been bothering him here for a while. With a little time and as he continues to get treatment, he seems to be getting better."

Matheny said Jay could play Sunday, but indicated that he may hold him out again since the team is idle Monday.

Wong's latest struggles

Second baseman Kolten Wong, whose performance at the plate has been uneven this season, began Saturday in an 0-for-8 slump that had dropped his average to .239.

Wong is 6-for-36 (.167) since July 20 with one walk and 13 strikeouts. He has had three three-strikeouts games since July 23.

"That's always concerning, especially for a guy with the hand-eye coordination, athleticism and bat speed that Kolten brings," Matheny said. "That's just not something that's natural. He's got above-average (skills) in all of those things.

"It's just one of those tough little ruts. (Saturday) might not have been a bad day for a day off, but he has had some success in limited opportunities against (Kyle) Lohse, so we're going to get him back right back out there and see how he does. We know he can right the ship. It's just a matter of him getting in there and working."

Wong began July on a power tear, hitting five home runs between July 6 and July 12.

"He's got to remember who he needs to be on this club," said Matheny, who continues to bat Wong second in the order.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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