First Pitch: Cardinals postponed due to rain, set for double-header Thursday as make up | Cardinal Beat

The Cardinals Wednesday evening game against the Chicago Cubs has been postponed due to rain. The game will be made up Thursday at 12:15pm as part of a double-header with the originally scheduled game still taking place at 6:45pm.

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Starting the day winners of four of their last five games, the Cardinals now sit just two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the division lead. They also began the day on the outside looking in on the playoff hunt, half a game back from the Phillies. The Cardinals will send their ace to the mound looking for a series win against the Cubs.

After three days rest between the series in Washington, DC and with a lefty on the mound for the Cubs, Albert Pujols returns to the lineup for the Cardinals. Having a midseason resurgence at the plate, The Machine is still mashing lefties this season to the tune of a .339 batting average with an OPS of .931. He’s slotted to hit sixth tonight.

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With Pujols DH’ing, Nolan Gorman will get the day off. Manager Oli Marmol indicated before the game that he is not worried about a potential issue of finding spots in the middle of the diamond between Gorman, Paul DeJong and Tommy Edman.

With the return of Tyler O’Neill to the lineup, the Cardinals are as close to their opening day roster as they have been in some time. Only Lars Nootbar hitting ninth and playing right field stands as an alteration to the starting nine.

Lineups (Game now postponed)

CARDINALS (55-48)

CUBS (41-61)

Pitching Matchup

RHP Miles Mikolas (7-8, 2.87 ERA): Pitching for the first time on home soil since June 16, Mikolas has been significantly better at home this season, allowing hitters to only hit .142 when pitching at Busch Stadium. Mikolas is 4-2 when starting a home as well.

LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.87 ERA): Making his 40th career appearance, youngster Steele has struggled in the dog days of summer. In his four starts this July, he averaged just four innings per start.

Wild Card

  • The Cardinals revamped their pitching staff at the trade deadline acquiring three new pitchers to bolster the staff: LHP Jordan Montgomery, LHP Jose Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton.
  • The Cardinals have hit home runs in 11 straight games, the second longest active streak behind the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers will come to Busch Stadium this weekend.

Injury Report

  • Left-hander Steven Matz was diagnosed with a torn MCL in his left knee after reaching for a ground ball back to the mound. After meeting with team doctors there is optimism that he could avoid season-ending surgery and rehabilitate the torn ligament, allowing him to return in September. The Cardinals expect to have a plan of action as to the severity of the injury when evaluated later in the week. (Updated July 26)
  • 1B/OF/DH Juan Yepez is on the 10th day IL with a forearm strain suffered a week ago Thursday night making a throw to the plate. He will start throwing in a few days. (Updated July 22)
  • RHP Jack Flaherty (shoulder) has been moved to the 60-Day IL meaning he would not be available until late August, at the earliest. The transaction gives a structure to a spring training-like return for the right-hander and a rehab assignment that could take a month, if necessary. (Updated July 13)

Who’s Next

Thursday vs. the Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana (first start as a Cardinal) vs. Marcus Stroman (3-5, 3.99 ERA)

Up Next

The Cardinals close their series against the Cubs before the New York Yankees come to town this weekend. The Cardinals will play 12 of their next 15 games at Busch Stadium, welcoming the New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers over that stretch.

Check back here throughout the evening for immediate coverage of the game and any news that surfaces from the Cardinals’ pre-game activities. We will publish expanded game coverage online Wednesday night, and also in the pages of Thursday’s Post-Dispatch.

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