Red Sox-Cardinals Preview

From the Green Monster to the Gateway Arch. From the Charles

River to the mighty Mississippi. From clam chowder to toasted

ravioli.

The World Series scene is shifting, and St. Louis ace Adam

Wainwright couldn’t be happier.

”We love Cardinal country,” he said Friday.

For good reason, too. After Boston split the first two games at

Fenway Park, now Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of

the Red Sox will get to see what makes this place so special.

Especially in October.

”Well, we love playing here at Busch Stadium. Like I said, it’s

a sea of red,” pitcher Joe Kelly said.

The free-spirited Kelly was set to start Game 3 on Saturday

night against Jake Peavy.

”This is what I’ve lived for my whole life – my whole baseball

career, I should say,” Peavy said. ”I’m as prepared as I’ll ever

be – physically, mentally.”

Also warmed up: A team of eight Clydesdales, ready to pull a red

beer wagon around the warning track before the first pitch. It’s

also a tradition for fans to gather early at the Musial statue –

there are two honoring Stan the Man, actually.

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara took a moment to soak it all in. As

he walked onto the field for a workout, the first-time visitor

looked at the gleaming Arch hovering high beyond the center-field

fence.

The Cardinals rely on a lot more than pomp when they play in

their own park.

They led the NL in scoring while going 54-27 at Busch, and then

let pitching take over in the postseason. St. Louis is 5-1 at home

in the playoffs – in those five wins, opponents scored a total of

five runs.

Boston has hit just .188 so far in the Series, with David Ortiz

providing the biggest bop. He’s homered in both games and is 4 for

6 overall with five RBIs.

With no designated hitter in the National League park, Ortiz

will switch to first base. Manager John Farrell wouldn’t say

whether Ortiz would start there for every game in St. Louis, but

it’s a good guess regular first baseman Mike Napoli will be on the

bench for a while.

Farrell also said lefty-swinging Daniel Nava would start in left

field instead of Jonny Gomes, who is 0 for 7 so far.

”Obviously David’s bat, at all costs, needs to be in the

lineup,” Peavy said. ”David is a game-changer. He’s as clutch as

anybody I can remember playing with or against.”

”It just seems like he has a flair for the dramatic. When the

situation is the biggest, he’s at his best,” he said.

Ortiz hit a two-run homer off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in

Game 2 that put Boston ahead 2-1 in the sixth inning, but St. Louis

rallied in the seventh for a 4-2 win.

The Red Sox will spend this weekend at the stadium a few blocks

from the Mississippi River.

”I believe our ballpark is very fair. I don’t think there’s one

thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than

any other,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”It’s not like

there’s the oddities, like a Green Monster or deep corners and

gaps.”

”But you can’t help but buy into the atmosphere, especially

when you’re at home and every single thing you do gets such a

positive response,” he said.

Kelly is glad to be home, all the way around.

”You get to sleep in your own bed. You get to do what you

normally do on a regular basis,” he said. ”If you get coffee in

the morning, you go to your coffee shop. It’s just a comfort level

to know that it’s your home away from your offseason home.”

For the Red Sox, this is their first visit to St. Louis since

Ortiz hit a home run on June 8, 2005, in a win at the previous

Busch Stadium. The new park opened the next year.

Kelly also had some friendly advice for Boston’s first-time

visitors. It involved a local favorite, a food that many are

certain started in this city.

”Find some toasted raviolis, eat some. Those are good,

especially in St. Louis,” he said.