ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jake Peavy could have been starting Game 3 of the World Series for the home team.
Dealt from the Chicago White Sox to Boston as part of a three-team trade in July, Peavy was being pursued by the Cardinals last summer.
"I know it was a pretty serious conversation I guess they were having in St. Louis," he said Friday. "I would have been excited to come to St. Louis. It's a place I dearly love and enjoyed playing in any time through here."
With the Series tied at a game apiece, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will start for Boston on Saturday night in his Series debut at age 32. Joe Kelly takes the mound for the Cardinals.
Back in the playoffs for the first time in seven years, Peavy went 12-5 during the regular season and then pitched well but didn't get a decision in Game 4 of the division series. He allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings during a 3-1 win at Tampa Bay, and then was hit hard in the Game 4 championship series defeat at Detroit, giving up seven runs in three innings.
He maintained "just a small, small adjustment" was the only thing he needed to do to get ready for the Cards.
"There's absolutely no excuses tomorrow night. This is what I've lived for my whole life," he said. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, physically, mentally."
Excited about his first Series start, he brought sons Jacob Edward and Wyatt to the Busch Stadium interview room on Friday, Queried about their favorite players, they both said dad first, followed by Jacoby Ellsbury for Wyatt and Jonny Gomes for Jacob.
"They've got good taste," dad said.
With the Series shifting to the National League ballpark, Peavy was looking forward to bunting or being involved in a hit-and-run.
He might be a .173 career hitter during the regular season, but he does have a pair of home runs - both in July 2006, against Philadelphia's Scott Mathieson and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Brad Penny.
Peavy spent his first 7 1/2 seasons with San Diego.
"I love the National League-style of game," he said, "and feeling like a true baseball player, as opposed to how we are as a pitcher in the American League."
Clay Buchholz, slowed by a shoulder issue, is slated to start Game 4 for the Red Sox on Sunday against Lance Lynn. Buchholz threw from about 100 feet on flat ground Friday.
Game 5 Monday will feature a rematch of the opener, when Jon Lester defeated St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.
But first, Game 3. Peavy already sounded amped up for his start.
"Let's not sugarcoat anything, this is the biggest game up until this point in time that I've ever pitched. We'd be silly to sit here and say otherwise," Peavy said. "To go out in a World Series game and have a chance to sway the odds, the favor, in your direction, on the road, with a team that's got some momentum with a big win at our place, of course. I think this is the biggest start in my career."
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- From the Green Monster to the Gateway Arch. From the Charles River to the mighty Mississippi. From clam chowder to toasted ravioli.
The World Series scene is shifting, and St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright couldn't be happier.
"We love Cardinal country," he said Friday.
For good reason, too. After Boston split the first two games at Fenway Park, now Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of the Red Sox will get to see what makes this place so special.
Especially in October.
"Well, we love playing here at Busch Stadium. Like I said, it's a sea of red," pitcher Joe Kelly said.
The free-spirited Kelly was set to start Game 3 on Saturday night against Jake Peavy.
"This is what I've lived for my whole life - my whole baseball career, I should say," Peavy said. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be - physically, mentally."
Also warmed up: A team of eight Clydesdales, ready to pull a red beer wagon around the warning track before the first pitch. It's also a tradition for fans to gather early at the Musial statue - there are two honoring Stan the Man, actually.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara took a moment to soak it all in. As he walked onto the field for a workout, the first-time visitor looked at the gleaming Arch hovering high beyond the center-field fence.
The Cardinals rely on a lot more than pomp when they play in their own park.
They led the NL in scoring while going 54-27 at Busch, and then let pitching take over in the postseason. St. Louis is 5-1 at home in the playoffs - in those five wins, opponents scored a total of five runs.
Boston has hit just .188 so far in the Series, with David Ortiz providing the biggest bop. He's homered in both games and is 4 for 6 overall with five RBIs.
With no designated hitter in the National League park, Ortiz will switch to first base. Manager John Farrell wouldn't say whether Ortiz would start there for every game in St. Louis, but it's a good guess regular first baseman Mike Napoli will be on the bench for a while.
Farrell also said lefty-swinging Daniel Nava would start in left field instead of Jonny Gomes, who is 0 for 7 so far.
"Obviously David's bat, at all costs, needs to be in the lineup," Peavy said. "David is a game-changer. He's as clutch as anybody I can remember playing with or against."
"It just seems like he has a flair for the dramatic. When the situation is the biggest, he's at his best," he said.
Ortiz hit a two-run homer off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in Game 2 that put Boston ahead 2-1 in the sixth inning, but St. Louis rallied in the seventh for a 4-2 win.
The Red Sox will spend this weekend at the stadium a few blocks from the Mississippi River.
"I believe our ballpark is very fair. I don't think there's one thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than any other," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's not like there's the oddities, like a Green Monster or deep corners and gaps."
"But you can't help but buy into the atmosphere, especially when you're at home and every single thing you do gets such a positive response," he said.
Kelly is glad to be home, all the way around.
"You get to sleep in your own bed. You get to do what you normally do on a regular basis," he said. "If you get coffee in the morning, you go to your coffee shop. It's just a comfort level to know that it's your home away from your offseason home."
For the Red Sox, this is their first visit to St. Louis since Ortiz hit a home run on June 8, 2005, in a win at the previous Busch Stadium. The new park opened the next year.
Kelly also had some friendly advice for Boston's first-time visitors. It involved a local favorite, a food that many are certain started in this city.
"Find some toasted raviolis, eat some. Those are good, especially in St. Louis," he said.
Law enforcement officials are reminding fans and visitors to St. Louis to secure any valuables in their car by placing them out of sight and locking their doors.
St. Louis police and the Cardinals are committed to ensuring a safe 2013 World Series experience, but they will need an assist from the public.
The Redbirds and Boston Red Sox play Games 3, 4 and 5 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Busch Stadium.
Officers will patrol in both uniform and undercover capacities -- in both marked and unmarked vehicles. They will also have more foot and mounted patrols.
Police are encouraging anyone who sees suspicious activity to alert a nearby officer or call 911.
There will be a pre-game pep rally at Ballpark Village beginning at 3:30 each afternoon and the gates to the stadium will open at 4:30 each day.