John Farrell, Mike Matheny, others ponder momentum swing

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell argues a Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell argues a call with umpire Dana DeMuth during the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Oct. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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ST. LOUIS -- A predictable reaction occurred after the Cardinals' awful performance in Game 1 of the World Series, an 8-1 loss in which they looked lost against Jon Lester and were even worse in the field.

Obituaries on their season not only were being prepared, but some were even published and / or discussed.

Nothing like one game to change the narrative.

The Red Sox were sloppy defensively in their 4-2 loss in Game 2. And as this World Series shifts to the Midwest and Busch Stadium for the next three games, starting Saturday night, suddenly it's the Sox facing questions about whether they can even get the series back to Fenway Park.

"I think the momentum is probably hinged upon today's starting pitcher," Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon before his team's workout at Busch. "That's not to heap too much pressure on the individual, but that's where it starts, and that guy has got to keep the game under control."

Getting the start for Boston is righthander Jake Peavy, a trade-deadline acquisition who went 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts for the Red Sox but was rocked for seven runs in three innings in an ALCS Game 4 loss to Detroit.

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The team winning Game 3 in a 1-1 Series has gone on to win the title 67.3 percent of the time. And Peavy, who will be opposed by righthander Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69 in his second big-league season), did not downplay the game's significance.

"Let's not sugarcoat anything; this is the biggest game up until this point in time that I've ever pitched," said Peavy, 32, who is in his 12th major-league season.

Momentum is always a popular topic in sports, especially in the postseason, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is a devotee.

"Momentum seems to be a big conversation this time of year. I believe in it," he said Friday, referring to his club's comeback victory in Game 2. "I believe in the fact that we can try and ride a positive of coming back in a game like that."

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, coming off a poor outing in Game 1, isn't so sure.

"What goes on in the clubhouse is a lot different than what goes on in the media," said Wainwright, who, if the Cardinals were to win the next two, would have a chance to clinch the Series at home in Game 5. "There's no panic going on in these two locker rooms. I think Boston's a very confident team. We're a very confident team."

Much of that stems from the way the Cardinals have performed at home this season. For all the talk about the quirks, nooks and crannies of Fenway Park -- and the Red Sox had an AL-best 53-28 home record -- the Cardinals went 54-27 at Busch Stadium, second in the majors to the Braves, who were 56-25 at home.

The Cardinals had a 13-2 home record in September that helped them hold off the Pirates in the NL Central. They are 5-1 at Busch Stadium this postseason, going 3-0 in their six-game NLCS victory over the Dodgers.

"We've got a lot of confidence," Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams said. "We just play well in front of our fans. They support us no matter whether we're winning or losing, they're always behind us and they're into every pitch. It's a fun atmosphere to go out and play in."

Notes & quotes: With the DH not being used in the National League city, David Ortiz will be at first base and Mike Napoli will start Game 3 on the bench for the Red Sox. Ortiz hit a two-run homer in Game 2, his fifth home run of this postseason. Napoli had 23 homers and 92 RBIs in the regular season and homered twice in the ALCS.

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