Boston's Joe Kelly and St. Louis' Shelby Miller have been roommates through the years, and each served as the other's best man. On Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, they will be competitors.
After being shipped to the Red Sox at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last Thursday, Kelly will abruptly return to St. Louis, where he began his career. Not only does the Boston rotation have Kelly pitching in the series, it has him going head to head with one of his best friends.
"If you didn't like to compete, you probably wouldn't be playing baseball," Miller said. "Obviously, me and Joe both compete at a lot of things, and tomorrow will be another thing. The biggest thing is just to go out there and try to pitch your best to get a win for the team. I know we'll both try to do that."
On Tuesday afternoon, Kelly stopped by home plate, where Miller was taking batting practice, to propose a bet. If either gets a hit off the other, the one who surrendered the hit has to pay $100.
"It will be interesting to see what happens," Miller said.
Kelly has one goal in mind.
"Try not to hit him," he said.
After beginning the season's second half in the bullpen while the Cardinals went with a four-man rotation, Miller has looked more comfortable on the mound in his two starts since, and he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings his last time out.
Kelly, meanwhile, will be pitching on six days' rest and looking for a groove in just his eighth start this season after missing several months with a strained left hamstring. He will also be battling emotions as he faces his former team.
"There will be some [emotions] there, yeah," Kelly said. "You just have to go out there and try to minimize them and focus on the task at hand."
There is not expected to be any advantage, however. The Cardinals are familiar with Kelly's repertoire, but only two current members of the team -- A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Ellis -- have faced him.
"Being in left field, I can't see anything. I could probably see better watching on tape," Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday said. "I think facing a pitcher you've never faced before is an advantage for the pitcher, but we know his pitches, at least. It'll be a challenge, because his stuff is elite. He's just had some trouble with command this year. Part of that is due to injury and coming back and not having consistent time to hone his pitches."
Red Sox: Craig will miss homecoming with foot injury
Veteran infielder/outfielder Allen Craig returned to St. Louis on Tuesday, just days after being acquired by the Red Sox in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal, but he will miss the series because of a foot injury.
Craig, who went 1-for-4 in his debut with Boston on Friday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. He is hitting .237 with seven home runs.
"It's a little tweak," Craig said. "Obviously, they want to do their evaluations and make sure everything is good. Obviously, I want to be out there, and they want me to be out there. But now is a good period to just evaluate things and move forward."
Cardinals: Jay produces in return to action
After missing five straight games with a sore left wrist, Jon Jay was back in the lineup on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 with the game-winning single in the eighth.
Jay injured the wrist on a check swing in San Diego last week and wasn't ready to return over the weekend. With Monday's day off providing extra rest, the team hopes the injury is alleviated.
"Things are moving forward with him, and hopefully, we'll be able to stay ahead of it now," manager Mike Matheny said.
• With Tuesday's loss, the Red Sox have dropped 11 of their last 13 games.
• Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek has put up scoreless outings in 47 of 51 games this season after striking out the side in the eighth inning on Tuesday. His 0.78 ERA is the best among Major League relievers.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.