This World Series rematch Tuesday night is a reunion in more ways than one.
There is no chance for another one this October.
That's because the world champion Boston Red Sox are in last place and recently traded away their top three starters, one of whom went to the St. Louis Cardinals and is among four players in this series who was with the other team last month.
That pitcher, though, probably won't appear in this three-game set at Busch Stadium because the Cardinals opted to start John Lackey on Sunday and push Lance Lynn back two days to this game. Boston traded Lackey and Jon Lester at Thursday's non-waiver deadline, five days after Jake Peavy was dealt.
Lackey, who won the Game 6 clincher in last year's World Series, was shipped to St. Louis (59-51) for starter Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig. The other current Cardinal who was in Boston's dugout last month is A.J. Pierzynski, whom the Red Sox released.
While Kelly will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday, Craig hopes to return Tuesday after missing two games with foot soreness. He's hitting .122 in his last 14 games, including 1 for 4 in his only one with Boston (49-62).
"It's going to be fun to go in there and play against my former teammates and go back to St. Louis," Craig told MLB's official website. "... It's cool to be on this side of the clubhouse and get to know the guys who I played against last year in the World Series."
Craig was the Cardinals' leading hitter in the Fall Classic at .375, but their offense couldn't keep up with David Ortiz.
He took World Series MVP honors by hitting .688 with two homers, six RBIs, seven runs and eight walks. Ortiz has six homers and 18 RBIs in his last 12 games, and the 38-year-old designated hitter seems likely to play in St. Louis after starting at first base in Boston's only two interleague road games.
Ortiz doubled, singled and walked in three plate appearances against Lynn in October. The right-hander lost Game 4, giving up three runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat, and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced in Game 6.
Lynn (11-8, 2.98 ERA) has been so much better lately. He had a 1.71 ERA in five July starts with 32 strikeouts in 31 2-3 innings, throwing an average of 112.8 pitches. He now goes on six days' rest, and he's 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA this year with that much time off.
"You look at his pitch count over his last several starts, I don't think (the extra rest) is going to hurt him," manager Mike Matheny said.
Craig's departure opened a regular spot for highly touted rookie Oscar Taveras, who has five RBIs in the last four games with the go-ahead single in Sunday's 3-2 win over Milwaukee.
"When he gets in those big spots, I don't think it rattles him," said Matheny, whose club pulled within a game of the Central-leading Brewers.
Boston has lost 10 of 12.
"It's been a frustrating year for everyone in here," Clay Buchholz said after getting ripped for seven runs in Sunday's 8-7 loss to the Yankees.
The departures of Lackey, Lester and Peavy made Buchholz the elder statesman of the rotation and gave Rubby De La Rosa (3-4, 3.64) a regular turn going forward.
He's coming off back-to-back losses to Toronto, surrendering 10 runs and 18 hits in 10 innings. However, those games were against one of baseball's best offenses whereas St. Louis is among the worst, ranking 29th in runs and homers. In his previous four starts, De La Rosa went 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA.
De La Rosa should be wary of Matt Holliday, whose six homers and 13 RBIs since the All-Star break are among the league leaders.
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, 3 for 18 in the World Series, is expected to return after missing five games with a sore wrist.