The first one-day break in the action came to the 109th World Series on Friday. Naturally, it was the perfect time for the speculating and strategizing to continue.
Friday's workout day at Busch Stadium didn't contain too much rehashing of the events of Game 2, which was played Thursday night in Boston, but several things happened in the Cardinals' 4-2 win that framed the narrative as the Road to the World Series moves forward.
For one, the Series is tied at one game apiece. That means Saturday's Game 3, which will be broadcast on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET with a first pitch of 8:07 ET, is like another Game 1, this one in a best-of-five set.
Back in #STL ??- Carlos Beltran (@carlosbeltran15) October 25, 2013
Yes, St. Louis grabs the home-field advantage -- for a night, at least -- with the next three games guaranteed to be played in Busch. That means National League rules, which means Boston will lose a big bat out of its lineup because there's no designated hitter.
On Saturday, it will be Mike Napoli grabbing a seat in the dugout while regular DH David Ortiz, who already has two homers in the Series and had a grand slam robbed by Carlos Beltran in Game 1, plays first base.
"How we go forward through the remaining three games, we'll take a look at that day to day," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But given the right-handed matchups, and take away the matchups, David has got a long career that we all lean on and the success that he's having on this postseason to take advantage of."
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will take a bit of a chance at first base themselves. Allen Craig, who played first for much of the season but missed the first two rounds of the playoffs because of a foot issue and DH'd in Boston, will be back at his customary position in Game 3.
"Allen took some ground balls today … just beginning the movements," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Friday. "We're not pushing this too hard and too fast. We're very excited about what we're seeing with him at the plate and that's the main thing.
"Defensively, we'll take whatever we can get. Every day is another step."
Matheny was saying the same thing about Beltran, who rebounded from the rib injury that cut short his Game 1 by getting two hits in Game 2 and should be even healthier Saturday.
On the pitching side of things, it'll be a battle of right-handed starters, with veteran Jake Peavy taking the ball for the Red Sox and young Joe Kelly on the mound for the Cardinals.
Peavy reiterated Friday that he would like very much to make up for his last October start, a poor outing in the American League Championship Series in Detroit in which he departed after three innings, having given up seven runs on five hits while walking three and striking out one.
Now Peavy will pitch the biggest game of his life.
"We'd be silly to sit here and say otherwise," Peavy said Friday. "I've never been to this. This is why I play the game. This is why we all, I would like to think, play the game … to be a world champion … to be the best in the world at what you do at the highest level.
"And so to go out in a World Series game and have a chance to sway the odds, the favor, in your direction, on the road, with a team that's got some momentum with a big win at our place, of course. I think this is the biggest start in my career."
Ditto for 25-year-old Kelly, who moved into Matheny's starting rotation in July, stopped the three longest losing streaks of the Cardinals' season and pitched in both playoff series leading up to the Fall Classic, so he should be ready to handle the pressure.
And he'll know exactly where he is while he's doing it.
There's no place like home: pic.twitter.com/6aG2X786II- St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 25, 2013
"I think the main difference is the crowd, the fans," Kelly said Friday. "The regular season, we pack the house well, but in the postseason every strike is huge. Every out is huge. Every hit we get is big, even if we don't score. I think that's probably the main difference … just the excitement and the atmosphere that's going on in the stadium."
Saturday's World Series game
Game 3: Red Sox (Peavy) at Cardinals (Kelly), 8:07 p.m. ET Preview >
2013 MLB POSTSEASON
Wild Card: Rays 4, Indians 0
Division Series: Red Sox beat Rays, 3-1 | Tigers beat A's, 3-2
Championship Series: Red Sox beat Tigers, 4-2
Wild Card: Pirates 6, Reds 2
Division Series: Cardinals beat Pirates, 3-2 | Dodgers beat Braves, 3-1
Championship Series: Cardinals beat Dodgers, 4-2
2013 postseason schedule
NL Division Series
Game 1: Cardinals 9, Pirates 1
Game 2: Pirates 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Pirates 5, Cardinals 3
Game 4: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1
Game 5: Cardinals 6, Pirates 1, St. Louis wins series, 3-2
Game 1: Dodgers 6, Braves 1
Game 2: Braves 4, Dodgers 3
Game 3: Dodgers 13, Braves 6
Game 4: Dodgers 4, Braves 3, Los Angeles wins series, 3-1
AL Division Series
Game 1: Red Sox 12, Rays 2
Game 2: Red Sox 7, Rays 4
Game 3: Rays 5, Red Sox 4
Game 4: Red Sox 3, Rays 1, Boston wins series, 3-1
Game 1: Tigers 3, A's 2
Game 2: A's 1, Tigers 0
Game 3: A's 6, Tigers 3
Game 4: Tigers 8, A's 6
Game 5: Tigers 3, A's 0, Detroit wins series, 3-2
NL Championship Series
Game 1: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2 (13 innings)
Game 2: Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0
Game 3: Dodgers 3, Cardinals 0
Game 4: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2
Game 5: Dodgers 6, Cardinals 4
Game 6: Cardinals 9, Dodgers 0, St. Louis wins series, 4-2
AL Championship Series
Game 1: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0
Game 2: Red Sox 6, Tigers 5
Game 3: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0
Game 4: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3
Game 5: Red Sox 4, Tigers 3
Game 6: Red Sox 5, Tigers 2, Boston win series, 4-2
World Series (All games on FOX)
Game 1: Red Sox 8, Cardinals 1
Game 2: Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2, series tied 1-1
Game 3: Red Sox at Cardinals, Saturday, airtime 7:30 p.m. ET, game 8:07
Game 4: Red Sox at Cardinals, Sunday, airtime 8 p.m. ET, game 8:15
Game 5: Red Sox at Cardinals, Monday, airtime 7:30 p.m. ET, game 8:07
*Game 6: Cardinals at Red Sox, Wednesday, airtime 7:30 p.m. ET, game 8:07
*Game 7: Cardinals at Red Sox, Thursday, airtime 7:30 p.m. ET, game 8:07
* - if necessary