October 26, 2013 in Sports

Cardinals have their own special park

Busch Stadium kind to hometown Cardinals
Ben Walker Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Grounds crew workers prepare the field at Busch Stadium, where the World Series will take place tonight for Game 3.
(Full-size photo)

ST. LOUIS – 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 is set to start Game 3 tonight 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 N.L. 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 in the Series, with David Ortiz providing the biggest bop. He’s homered in both games and is 4 for 6 with five RBIs.

With no designated hitter in the N.L. 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.

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