ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The St. Louis Cardinals evened the World Series through a trio of rookie pitchers and the club will look to another fledgling hurler in Joe Kelly to try and gain the upper hand over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
The National League champions hope that competition between the team’s youngsters will help fuel further success after leveling the best-of-seven series at 1-1 in Boston on Thursday.
“They want to each kind of show the next guy what they can do,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny told reporters at Busch Stadium on the eve of Game Three of Major League Baseball’s championship.
In Game Two in Boston, 22-year-old Michael Wacha surrendered three hits in six innings and improved to 4-0 in the postseason after two great innings of relief from Carlos Martinez set up Trevor Rosenthal for the save.
When asked whether Wacha’s performance added to the pressure he felt heading into his start on Saturday, Kelly acknowledged that Wacha had set the bar high.
But Kelly added that the team’s rookie pitchers had been trying to get one up on each other all season and that would not change now.
“I want to go out there and either out-perform him or do just as well,” said 25-year-old Kelly, who posted a 10-5 record this year in his second season with the Cardinals.
Matheny said the young Cardinal pitchers had “taken to heart” the importance of competing with one another, in part because it was instilled by the team’s more experienced hurlers Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter.
The competition was not only fun, Matheny said, it gave the rookies “another edge”.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney