World Series notebook: Game 1 starters possess championship pedigree

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Adam Wainwright will make the first World Series start of his career Wednesday night, and the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander says he isn't feeling any pressure.

"What I found throughout my playoff career so far is that I respond really well when the adrenaline really kicks in." Wainwright said Tuesday before the Cardinals worked out at Fenway Park in advance of Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox and Jon Lester.

"I love that. The crowd gets louder. I get more fired up. I can't tell you how cool it is to pitch in front of great crowds like we're going to have tomorrow here in Boston, and we're going to have in St. Louis with that crisp, cool air, that Octobery kind of air, where you know it's playoff baseball."

Wainwright led the National League in wins during the regular season, when he finished 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA. He is 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts during the postseason. He made three relief appearances in the Cardinals' win over the Detroit Tigers in 2006 World Series but missed St. Louis' 2011 Series victory over the Texas Rangers while recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.

On the other hand, Lester started the Red Sox's last World Series game. He pitched 5 2/3 shutout inning to beat the Colorado Rockies in Game 4 in 2007 at Denver to complete a series sweep.

Lester was 23 then.

"Completely at different ends for me," Lester said. "Obviously, there will still be nerves, there will still be all that to be expected. But I think I know who I am a little bit more as a pitcher and what to expect from myself and what to expect from the crowd and all the different things that go along with getting a start in the World Series."

Lester was 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 regular-season starts this year. He is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts during the postseason.

Rookie Michael Wacha will start for the Cardinals against John Lackey in Game 2 on Thursday night, but neither manager has announced his rotation beyond the first two games in Boston.

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Red Sox designed hitter David Ortiz will play first base in at least some of the three games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis -- Games 3 and 4, plus Game 5 if necessary. The DH rule is not in effect in games at NL parks.

Ortiz started six games at first base during interleague play this season and did not commit an error. However, the 37-year-old is still in the major leagues because of his bat. He hit .309 with 30 home runs this year.

When Ortiz starts at first base, Mike Napoli will be relegated to pinch-hitting duty. Napoli hit .259 with 23 homers this year, and he added two homers in the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

"Personally, when we go into National League ballparks, I think we're at a greater disadvantage than the reverse when the National League teams come in here," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

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Cardinals rookie right-hander Shelby Miller had a fine year, going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts.

However, Miller became the forgotten man in the postseason. He pitched only one inning of mop-up relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Division Series, and he never threw a pitch in the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The emergence of Wacha made Miller the odd man out.

"The idea for Shelby and the conversation with Shelby since day one is he could have an expanded role at any point and he needs to stay sharp," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

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The Red Sox and Cardinals were both 97-65 in the regular season, tying for the best record in the major leagues.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina feels it is fitting that the teams are meeting in the World Series. In many ways, he believes the Red Sox and Cardinals are mirror images.

"They've got some veteran guys who know how to play the game the right way," Molina said. "We respect them. At the same time, we've got some good guys here who play the game the right way, too, so we know how to win. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a good series.

This marks the third time in which the two World Series teams had identical regular-season records. In 1949, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees were 97-57, while the Yankees and Milwaukee Braves were 92-62 in 1958.

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Daniel Nava hit .303 with 12 home runs and a .385 on-base percentage in 134 regular-season games.

However, he has started just four of 10 games in left field for the Red Sox during the postseason, ceding playing time to Johnny Gomes. In 116 regular-season games, Gomes batted .247 with 13 homers and .344 OBP.

Nava, though, said he is not bothered by the situation.

"There's no bickering or backstabbing," Nava said. "We're here to win. If not, we wouldn't be here and there would be problems. You can't get to the World Series with problems like that. I know the opportunities will come. I just don't know when."

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NOTES: AL teams have won 62 of the 108 World Series, but NL teams won the past three straight and five of the past seven. The San Francisco Giants won in 2010 and 2012, and the Cardinals were victorious in 2011. It was the first time the NL won at least three consecutive World Series since taking four in a row from 1979-82. ... The Cardinals are making their 19th World Series appearance, tying the Giants for the most by a NL franchise. The Yankees hold the record with 40. ... The Red Sox are making their 12th appearance in the Fall Classic.
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