With Series tied at 1-1, National League rules apply in St. Louis
World Series – Game 3
Boston at St. Louis
8:07 ET Fox
Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) vs. Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69)
The Cardinals escaped Boston with a split, and that’s good news for the Redbirds. But this World Series is just now beginning. We’re entering the portion of the program where hitters actually have a fighting chance. Expect a little more offense tonight in St. Louis, but both bullpens stand ready and can extinguish fires quickly. Neither manager will allow this one to get away early. The Cardinals’ Joe Kelly was one of their more reliable starters down the stretch this season, but hasn’t been as sharp in the postseason. Jake Peavy, a former Cy Young winner in the National League, struggled in his starts against the Rays and Tigers in the playoffs. One critical factor for both teams throughout this series is to play a clean game, both defensively and on the bases, taking advantage of every slight opportunity.
Keys for Boston
The Red Sox must adjust to having Peavy bat and Ortiz must not give away anything defensively at first base. Boston hitters are a patient bunch and they will wait out Kelly, who can be a bit erratic with his control at times. Now is certainly not the time to change their typical patient approach.
Keys for St. Louis
Mike Matheny doesn’t expect Kelly to get past the seventh inning, but he’ll ask the young righthander to leave it all on the mound for what few innings he can. The Redbirds’ manager will turn this game over to his bullpen, which has been dominant in the postseason. Matheny called on Carlos Martinez to get six outs and Trevor Rosenthal three in Game 2, but he will be more likely to mix and match relievers for matchups rather than extend Martinez tonight. The Cardinals have had some success against Peavy, both in the regular season and playoffs when he was with San Diego. St. Louis has won five of their six home playoff games this fall, and need to continue to feed off the home atmosphere.
Red Sox to Watch
Many eyes will be on Ortiz and how well he handles first base. In 2004, he played well in St. Louis, but he was nine years younger then. He’s played just 13 games at first over the past three seasons. In two starts for Boston this postseason, Peavy was touched for eight runs over 8.2 innings. He must avoid big innings. Stephen Drew has been a non-factor at the plate, but his steady presence up the middle has squelched some St. Louis momentum in the first two games. With regular first baseman Mike Napoli on the bench, both Drew and Peavy are candidates to be pinch-hit for in big spots. The Red Sox have yet to test Yadier Molina behind the plate. Without the DH in the lineup, expect the Sox to start runners and play more small ball in St. Louis. That starts with Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino.
Cardinals to Watch
If the Cardinals are to win with a potent offense, it will be Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday providing the punch. Both have a pretty good history with Peavy and are swinging the bat well now. In addition to keeping hitters off base, Kelly must also be adept at keeping runners close at first base and give Molina a chance to shut down the Red Sox running game.
St. Louis was 11-4 in Kelly’s 15 regular-season starts…Aside from Ortiz (4-for-6) and Dustin Pedroia (3-for-7), the rest of the Red Sox are scuffling at .098 off of St. Louis pitching…Ortiz last made an error in 2009…The Red Sox have lost both games this postseason when Ortiz didn’t reach via hit or walk...Beltran in 8-for-20 against Peavy…Holliday is 8-for-28…The 32-year-old righthander has held Molina to 3-for-17.