What to watch for in Game 3 of the World Series
Here are five storylines to watch for in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday on FOX (7:30 ET, first pitch 8:07):
Since 1986, the designated hitter is used in American League parks during the World Series, but pitchers hit in National League parks.
Is that an edge to the NL team, which this year is St. Louis -- the host for Game 3 on Saturday night, in addition to Games 4 and 5?
Since the adjustment was made, AL teams are 30-42 in NL parks in the World Series and 76-66 overall. The AL has, however, won 14 of the 26 World Series. And the Red Sox? They are 6-2 in NL parks since 1986. They lost to the Mets in seven games in '86, but swept St. Louis in 2004 and Colorado in '07.
Red Sox pitchers are a combined 1-for-19 with 11 strikeouts, including Bruce Hurst striking out in each of his three at-bats in 1986. Daisuke Matsuzaka was 1-for-3 in a 10-5 Game 3 victory at Coors Field in 2007, delivering the two-run single that capped a six-run third inning and knocked out Rockies starter Josh Fogg. Matsuzaka struck out against Fogg in the second inning and grounded out to end the fifth against Franklin Morales.
With no DH, the Red Sox will insert David Ortiz at first base in Game 3 in St. Louis on Saturday night.
Ortiz led the team in average (.309), home runs (30) and RBIs (103) during the regular season, and he has been Boston's big run producer in the postseason. Ortiz has hit .268 and leads the Red Sox with 12 postseason RBIs and five home runs. He has joined Larry Gardner (1916) as the only Red Sox player to homer in back-to-back games.
The rub is this Red Sox team isn't as offensively balanced as ones in the past, and in order for Oritz to play first, Mike Napoli comes out of the lineup. During the regular season, Napoli was second to Ortiz on the team in home runs (23) and RBIs (92). And this postseason, the Red Sox only have eight home runs -- the five by Ortiz, two from Napoli and one from Shane Victorino.
Ortiz has played only 37 games at first base the last six seasons. He started six Interleague games at first this season, including two in Colorado the final week of the regular season.
The Sox made the same move with Ortiz in 2004, when Ortiz replaced Kevin Millar at St. Louis, and in '07, when Ortiz played in place of Kevin Youkilis at Colorado.
What a ribbing
Carlos Beltran returned to St. Louis' lineup in Game 2, despite suffering bruised ribs in Game 1, when he ran into the right-field fence at Fenway Park. Having a day off on Friday, the expectation is Beltran will be in the lineup again Saturday night for Game 3, having had an extra day of treatment.
Beltran did make adjustments to deal with the rib soreness. He went 2-for-4 in the Cardinals' win on Thursday. But then, it's the postseason. Beltran is among the most impactful postseason hitters in history. His .714 slugging percentage is the fourth highest all-time for batters with a minimum of 75 postseason plate appearances. Troy Glaus is the all-time leader at .756. Babe Ruth is second at .744 and Lou Gehrig third at .731.
Beltran also ranks ninth all-time with 16 postseason home runs, tied for 17th with 38 RBIs and 12th with a .338 batting average. His 13 RBIs this postseason is the fourth-highest postseason total in Cards history. David Freese drove in 21 runs in 2001, and Albert Pujols had 16 in 2011 and 14 in '04.
Boston wants to give Clay Buchholz a little more rest, so he is starting Game 4 on Sunday, and in-season acquisition Jake Peavy will start Game 3. Peavy has been a mixed bag since coming to the Red Sox in a three-team deal also involving the White Sox and Tigers.
Peavy pitched 5 2/3 strong innings, allowing one run, in a Game 3 victory against Tampa Bay in the AL Division Series, but he gave up seven runs in three innings of Game 4 of the AL Championship Series at Detroit, suffering the loss.
Prior to this season, Peavy's only two postseason appearances were with San Diego and against St. Louis in the 2005 and '06 NL Division Series. He gave up 13 runs and 19 hits in 9 2/3 innings combined.
Peavy showed signs of tiring after joining Boston. He was 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts with Boston, and the Red Sox were 5-5 in those starts. In his last four regular-season starts, Peavy was 1-0, but he allowed 15 earned runs in 25 innings.
The home team is 25-30 all time in Game 3 of the World Series when the series is tied 1-1. The home team has lost the last two -- in 2011, the Rangers lost Game 3 at home to the Cardinals, and in 2009, the Phillies lost at home to the Yankees. Overall, the winner of Game 3 when the World Series is tied 1-1 has gone on to win the series 38 of 55 times.
The Cards are 5-1 at Busch Stadium this postseason. They won two of three from the Pirates in the NLDS, including the win-or-go-home Game 5. They won all three home games against the Dodgers, including the deciding Game 6.
During the regular season, St. Louis was 54-27 at Busch Stadium, the second-best home record in the big leagues. Atlanta was 56-25 at Turner Field.
Boston, meanwhile, was 44-37 on the road, tied with Oakland for the third-best road record in the Major Leagues. Texas and the Los Angeles Dodgers were both 45-36 at home.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.