Wednesday's Red Sox-Cardinals matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Shelby Miller

August 06, 2014 - 5:24 am
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The Red Sox continue their three-game series in St. Louis on Wednesday when they send former Cardinal Joe Kelly to the mound for his Red Sox debut against Shelby Miller.

Kelly (2-2. 4.37 ERA) was traded to the Red Sox last Thursday along with Allen Craig in exchange for John Lackey. Not only will Kelly be making his first start with the Sox, but he'll have to do so against his former team in his former home park.

"I'€™m definitely looking forward to it. It'€™s going to be fun," Kelly said on Saturday. "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."

After a solid first two years in the majors, the 26-year-old has had a rocky 2014 mainly due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three months. Kelly is 1-1 with a 7.32 ERA in four starts since his return from the disabled list, going more than five innings just once. He was knocked around for four runs on seven hits in his most recent outing last Wednesday in San Diego. The righty lasted five innings, walked one and struck out five.

Kelly, of course, has never faced the Cardinals in his career. But he's 9-7 with a 2.90 ERA lifetime at Busch Stadium.

Wednesday's start will be emotional for Miller as well. The 23-year-old is longtime friends with Kelly. The two were drafted together in 2009 and came up through the Cardinals system with one another, growing closer in the process. They served as best man in each other's wedding in the offseason.

"Going into it, obviously earlier today telling him goodbye, you get a little emotional," Miller said after the trade last Thursday. "Even now, it upsets you a little. But you have to keep going."

Miller (8-8, 4.14 ERA) has had some tough moments on the mound this season as well. The righty was demoted to the bullpen following a stretch of five games in which he gave up three runs or more, resulting in St. Louis losses.

Miller made just one relief appearance in that 16-day stretch before returning to the rotation. He's been strong in the two starts since, allowing just four runs over a combined 11 2/3 innings for a pair of Cardinals wins. Miller didn't walk a batter in either outing after walking at least one in 20 outings this season.

"I think he's getting stronger and that was kind of the hope of giving him a little bit of rest, being able to watch him have that great life and carry what we see early into those later innings," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think he's looking stronger and more consistent mechanically, and then execution also."

Miller has never faced the Red Sox in his career. The only Sox batters to face Miller in his career in Yoenis Cespedes, who singled in his only plate appearance against him.

Red Sox vs. Miller (RHP)

Yoenis Cespedes has a base hit in his lone plate appearance.

Cardinals vs. Kelly (RHP)

Mark Ellis (8 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.125 OBP/.000 SLG

A.J. Pierzynski is hitless in two career plate appearances.

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