Beltran's hot hitting powers Cards to World Series

BOSTON -- Adam Wainwright, on the eve of making his first career World Series start, shared a light moment during his press conference about how thankful he was for a (literal) dream that didn't come true last week.

Wainwright, who is among a group of Cardinals players who have talked openly about wanting to get Carlos Beltran to the World Series, said that he dreamt the night before Game 6 of the National League Championship Series that it was the Dodgers, not the Cardinals, who won the NL pennant and advanced to the World Series. Beltran had fallen one win short again … until 2014.

"We didn't get to the World Series, and we weren't the team to get him there," Wainwright recalled. "And he ended up signing with the Yankees next year, and the Yankees took him to the World Series. And I remember the gist of the dream was he was sitting on a podium like this saying, 'I'm so happy to be a Yankee and in the World Series.' And I was like, 'Oh, my gosh'. It was a nightmare."

Wainwright laughs about the vision now, though this idea of providing Beltran the opportunity to play in his first Fall Classic has been a source of motivation throughout October. Beltran had never advanced further than Game 7 of the NLCS in any of his previous 15 seasons.

"I thought about him last night for about an hour, the fact that he's here," David Freese said. "This is all about Carlos. This is why you play the game. It's about the guys who grind it out for so many years and deserve to be in the World Series, win or loss. It's about guys like Carlos."

As Beltran fielded questions about his arrival on the World Series stage, he talked of the opportunity as a blessing and of his wait as all a part of "God's master plan." He also expressed appreciation to his teammates for rallying around his personal aspiration.

"It really means a lot, and I really appreciate they're on a mission to get me to the World Series," Beltran said. "Now we're here and hopefully we can win this. If it happens, I will be very happy. If it doesn't happen, in my heart, this year and last year, I feel like a winner, because I made a good decision to sign with a good organization that gave me an opportunity to play in postseason games. This is what you dream of as a player."

As expected, Craig on Cards' World Series roster

Craig discusses joining World Series roster

BOSTON -- After watching Allen Craig take batting practice and run the bases during the Cardinals' Tuesday workout at Fenway Park, manager Mike Matheny announced the anticipated: Craig will be added to the club's World Series roster, which was made official Wednesday.

Craig, who has been recovering from a foot injury since Sept. 4, will serve as the Cardinals' designated hitter in the first two games of the Series. He'll then be available off the bench once the series shifts to St. Louis, with the chance of being cleared for an expanded role.

Asked if Craig could resume defensive work in Boston, general manager John Mozeliak said, "We're going to see how the weather goes."

Temperatures are expected to drop the next two days, and Wednesday's forecast calls for rain.

Matheny has not committed to where he'll insert Craig into the lineup, though Craig most frequently filled the cleanup spot during the regular season. He'll be making his return after a seven-week layoff, but did feel encouraged by how quickly his timing has returned during a few recent simulated-game sessions.

"I feel like I have a good approach to go out there and do well, not having played in a few months," Craig said. "We'll just see how it goes. I'm going to go out there and focus on competing. I'm not going to worry about my swing or my stance or too much. I'm just going to compete against the pitcher and see what happens. I'm really excited to get out there and play."

In order to add Craig to the 25-man roster, the Cardinals removed Adron Chambers. By keeping Kolten Wong instead of Chambers, the Cardinals believe they'll be best covered because of Matt Carpenter's versatility. Wong also provides the same element of speed off the bench that Chambers would have.

The rest of the roster remains unchanged from the previous two postseason rounds. The breakdown is as follows:

Pitchers (12): Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez, Randy Choate, Seth Maness, John Axford, Shelby Miller and Edward Mujica

Position Players (13): Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz, Matt Adams, Craig, Carpenter, Wong, Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma, David Freese, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Shane Robinson

Wacha named for Game 2 start at Fenway

Wacha's postseason dominance leads Cards to Series

BOSTON -- Michael Wacha, fresh off being named the MVP of the National League Championship Series, has been tabbed the Cardinals' Game 2 starter, manager Mike Matheny announced on Tuesday.

The assignment of following Adam Wainwright was expected to fall to Wacha, who has been the most dominant starting pitcher this postseason. After ending his regular season with 8 2/3 no-hit innings, Wacha has excelled on the October stage. The Cardinals have won all three of the starts made by the 22-year-old, who limited the Pirates and Dodgers to eight hits, one earned run and four walks in 21 innings during the first two rounds of the postseason. He has 22 strikeouts.

Wacha will be making the start on five days' rest after closing out the NLCS in St. Louis last Friday. He'll be opposed by Boston starter John Lackey.

The Cardinals have not revealed their rotation plans beyond Game 2, though Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn are each expected to draw a start before the rotation turns back over. Lynn said that he has been told he will be available to pitch out of the bullpen, if needed, in Game 1 of the World Series (6:30 p.m. CT airtime, 7:07 first pitch on FOX).

Cards use workout to get acquainted with Monster

WS2013 Gm1: Cardinals players on Green Monster

BOSTON -- The Cardinals held a workout at Fenway Park on Tuesday in order to get acclimated with a ballpark only a handful of players had previously visited. Most importantly, it gave everyone a chance to size up the Green Monster.

An extended portion of the Cardinals' on-field time was spent having outfielders get an idea of the various bounces balls can take off the 37-foot, 2-inch-high wall that sits a modest 310-315 feet away from home plate. First-base coach Chris Maloney stood on the edge of the infield dirt hitting balls off the wall for his players to track.

The Cardinals are fortunate that both their corner outfielders do have some experience in Boston. Matt Holliday has played in six games at Fenway Park. Carlos Beltran, who will have to handle short walls and awkward dimensions in right field, played here 25 times, mostly as a member of the Royals.

The key to handling the quirks?

"Just make sure you chase the ball," Holliday said. "It can hit and it can bounce any way. I think everybody being ready, the shortstop and middle infielders, in case the ball bounces funny and hits one of the crevices. It's everybody being aware that if the ball does get away from me or over my head, that they can come out there and get it."

Added Beltran: "Communication has to be real important for us to be successful."

The infielders took instruction, too, as it will be their responsibility to back up the outfielders if balls bounce in unanticipated directions.

"A lot of us who have never played here before have our one chance to go out and see how the angles and the nooks and crannies play," said Daniel Descalso, who could see playing time at third or short. "When the games come, we just have to be ready for anything. Be ready for a funny bounce, because that could be the difference between a win or a loss."

Worth noting

• Matheny would not provide any hints as to who he plans to play in center field when the World Series opens on Wednesday. Jon Jay has been the team's everyday center fielder this season, but Shane Robinson started against lefty Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS and went 2-for-4 in that game. The Red Sox are sending a lefty, Jon Lester, to the mound in Game 1.

• After being forced to stay outside the city in Quincy, Mass., during the 2004 World Series, the Cardinals secured accommodations near Fenway Park this time around. On Tuesday, Matheny, who was a catcher on that '04 Cardinals team, made light of what was, at the time, a frustrating setup in '04.

"I think we were staying in Connecticut last time," Matheny said. "Boston is a beautiful city, especially this time of year. And I think we're all very happy to stay nice and close this time. It was about an $80 cab ride in '04."

• According to figures provided by the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and Regional Chamber, St. Louis expects to enjoy an economic impact of approximately $7.9 million for every home World Series game hosted at Busch Stadium. The city brought in an estimated $5.7 million per home game during the first two rounds of the postseason.

• Major League Baseball announced that John Hirschbeck will serve as crew chief for the World Series. The rest of his crew will include: Dana DeMuth, Jim Joyce, Paul Emmel, Bill Miller and Mark Wegner.