Red Sox-Cardinals series preview

August 05, 2014 - 6:50 am

This isn't the World Series rematch either side was probably expecting at the start of the season. The Red Sox and Cardinals meet Tuesday for the first time since the Fall Classic when they begin a three-game series at Busch Stadium. But instead of a matchup between two of Major League Baseball's best, this will be a meeting between teams going in completely different directions. The contrasting outlooks was made clear last Thursday at the deadline when the two sides were trade partners. The last-place Sox sent starter John Lackey to St. Louis, which was looking to bolster its rotation for a playoff push, in exchange for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, who will make their return to their former home field this week. "I'€™m definitely looking forward to it. It'€™s going to be fun," said Kelly, who will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday. "But it'€™s just another ball game. You'€™ve got to go out there and be 100 percent locked in and just make pitches and try to get those guys out." The Red Sox are coming off yet another series defeat. This time they lost two of three to the rival Yankees at Fenway Park to sink further into the AL East cellar. The Sox are 14 games out of first place and 4 1/2 games out of fourth. While the Cardinals haven't looked as strong as they did a year ago, they're still a threat in the National League. St. Louis has won three of its last four and took two out of three from the first-place Brewers this past weekend to move within a game of the division lead. The Cardinals were lifted by their newest arm, Lackey, in Sunday's win. The right-hander gave up two runs on seven hits over seven innings to help St. Louis to a 3-2 win. "From the start, my arm felt good," Lackey said after the game. "I started locating some balls better as the game went on." Here are the pitching matchups for the three-game set. Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (11-8, 2.98 ERA) Wednesday: Joe Kelly (2-2, 4.37 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.14 ERA) Thursday: Brandon Workman (1-4, 4.08 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.26 ERA) WHO'S HOT: RED SOX -- Dustin Pedroia continued his impressive emergence at the plate against the Yankees over the weekend. The second baseman went 6-for-14 with four runs and four RBIs over the three-game series. Pedroia nearly drove in another in the ninth inning Sunday when he connected on a pitch from David Robertson that hooked left of the foul pole before clearing the Wall in left field. He's now had five straight multi-hit games and seven in the last nine. Pedroia is hitting .400 (10-for-25) during this five-game multi-hit streak. --David Ortiz hasn't collected enough hits to be considered on a hot streak, but he has had a hit in eight of his last nine games and drove in five runs against the Yankees over the weekend. Ortiz hit a three-run home run and drew a walk on Sunday night. -- The Sox' losing ways have limited his save opportunities as of late, but Koji Uehara continues to not only be consistently reliable but completely dominant. The closer gave up two runs in an appearance against the White Sox on July 10. Since then, he's pitched seven shutout innings on four hits in seven relief appearances. Uehara has made four saves in that stretch. WHO'S HOT: CARDINALS -- Matt Adams has been arguably St. Louis' most reliable hitter this season. The first baseman is hitting .315/.334/.508 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs. Adams had three hits and scored two runs in the final two games of the Cardinals' weekend series against the Brewers. The 25-year-old is on pace to reach career highs in all major offensive categories, and already has exceeded his single-season marks for hits (112) and doubles (25). -- While he hasn't had one of the better statistical years of his career, Matt Holliday has been key in the Cardinals' last four games. Holliday is 6-for-17 in the last four games with two home runs, five RBIs and three runs scored. WHO'S NOT: RED SOX -- Jackie Bradley Jr.'s nightmare at the plate continues. The rookie is hitless in his last 24 at-bats with 12 strikeouts and is 3-for-35 (.086) since July 22. Bradley is hitting .218/.290/.299 for the season. -- If the Red Sox are going to win the series finale Thursday, they're going to need better from Brandon Workman. The righty is 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA in his last four starts, lasting just 23 innings in that stretch. The Sox had leaned on Workman's consistency before then when he allowed three runs or fewer in his first eight starts this season. Workman's season has turned for the worse since serving his six-game suspension for throwing behind Evan Longoria on May 30. WHO'S NOT: CARDINALS -- Wainwright is supposed to be the Cardinals' ace, but he hasn't pitched that way as of late. The righty hasn't made it out of the sixth inning in two of his last three starts, including a clunker against the Brewers on Friday. Wainwright gave up seven runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 7-4 loss to Milwaukee. -- After an All-Star season with the Tigers in 2013, Jhonny Peralta has struggled in his first season with the Cardinals. He's hitting .253/.330/.441 for the year and has had just one-multi hit game since the All-Star break.