BOSTON (AP) — David Freese launched a high drive to deep left-center field, watching the whole way until the ball loudly thwacked off the Green Monster.
"That's my Wall ball!" he hooted to St. Louis teammate Matt Holliday.
Freese enjoyed his first look at century-old Fenway Park, exploring its many quirks Tuesday. Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and a couple more Cardinals squeezed through a door leading to the cramped space behind the famed wall.
"Like a bunch of kids," manager Mike Matheny said.
No kidding come Wednesday night, when the Cardinals play the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series.
From Stan the Man vs. the Splendid Splinter, to Gibby vs. Yaz, to Pujols vs. Pedro, the Redbirds and Red Sox are set to renew their fall rivalry. They'll meet for the fourth time in "that Octobery kind of air," as Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright described it.
"The historical nature of both teams doesn't go unnoticed," Freese said.
Jon Lester will pitch the opener for Boston, facing a lineup that got a late boost. Allen Craig, who hit a major league-leading .454 with runners in scoring position but hasn't played since Sept. 4 because of sprained left foot, is ready to return.
"I feel like I'm in a good spot," said the cleanup man, who will be the Cardinals' designated hitter.
Weather could be a factor. Temperatures are supposed to dip into the low 40s and rain is in the forecast.
Boston was listed as a slim favorite in the matchup between teams that tied for the big league lead in wins. The clubs haven't met in the regular season since 2008, and Red Sox speedster Jacoby Ellsbury was looking forward to this pairing that some are billing as the Beards vs. the Birds.
"It will be exciting to see some unfamiliar faces," he said.
Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and many of their scraggly Boston teammates figure to get a good look at the Cardinals' crop of young arms, led by Wacha and relievers Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and Kevin Siegrist.
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