Joe Kelly won’t have to wait long to face the team that dealt him away last week.
The right-hander makes his debut for the visiting Boston Red Sox, who can avoid a fourth straight defeat by preventing the St. Louis Cardinals from winning their fourth in a row Wednesday night.
Looking to bolster its pitching staff, St. Louis (60-51) acquired John Lackey from Boston in a deal that sent Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig to the Red Sox on Thursday.
Kelly allowed one earned run over 15 1-3 innings while going 1-1 in his first three starts before landing on the disabled list April 17 with a hamstring injury. Since returning July 11, he is 1-1 with a 7.32 ERA in four starts.
The day before he was traded, Kelly gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 12-1 loss at San Diego.
”It’s going to be strange,” Kelly said about pitching at Busch Stadium as the visitor. ”There will be some emotions there. I have to go out and pitch like I don’t know those guys. I have to keep competing. I like to win as much as I can."
Kelly will oppose good friend Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.18 ERA).
”I grew up with him and came up through the farm system with him," Miller said. "He’s going to do well there. I wish him all the best.”
Miller went 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in his final five starts before the All-Star break but has allowed two runs and three hits in each of the two – over a combined 11 2-3 innings – since then.
The right-hander yielded two homers in six innings of a 6-2 win at San Diego on Thursday.
"I felt a little stronger," Miller said. "That’s the key thing right now. I’m trying to make the second-half push. You want to feel really good and healthy and like you’re on top of your game. I felt like that’s where we need to be right now."
Miller won’t have to face Craig, who was placed on the DL on Tuesday with an ankle injury. Craig doubled in four at-bats in his only game with Boston (49-63) on Friday against the New York Yankees.
Jon Jay’s two-out single in the eighth inning brought in ex-Boston catcher A.J. Pierzynski with the go-ahead run in St. Louis’ 3-2 victory Tuesday.
Pierzynski was released by Boston after hitting .254 in 72 games, but he’s batting .320 over seven with the Cardinals.
”Everyone wants me to say bad things about the Red Sox and I’m not going to do that,” Pierzynski said. ”I’m not bitter about what happened. It just didn’t work."
Boston’s Yoenis Cespedes had three hits Tuesday after going 1 for 7 in his first two games since the Red Sox acquired him from Oakland as part of the Jon Lester deal Thursday.
The Red Sox are 2-11 since winning five straight and eight of nine.