August 25: Cardinals (70-59) @ Pirates (67-63)
After losing a series in Philadelphia over the weekend, the Cardinals open a three-game set against the Pirates at PNC Park tonight. It is one of two season series the Cardinals have remaining against the Pirates, who trail St. Louis by 3.5 games in the NL Central/Wild Card race. Pittsburgh is coming off a strong showing in Milwaukee, where the Bucs took the series win.
The Cardinals reinforced their bullpen by calling up lefty reliever Tyler Lyons earlier today and sending out infielder Greg Garcia (full story here). The move leaves the team with a four-man bench, but also with another available reliever, which could be key given that the Cardinals needed their ‘pen to cover 13 innings in Philadelphia. Nick Greenwood is almost certainly unavailable today after pitching three innings in relief on Sunday.
Of course, manager Mike Matheny would prefer not to dip into his bullpen depth at all and ride a few strong starts instead. The Cardinals have their three best starters going in this series, beginning tonight with John Lackey. In four starts since joining the organization, Lackey has finished seven innings twice and six innings another time. He has made one career start against the Pirates — and it didn’t go all that well (6 IP, 8 H, 5 R)…. It also came back in 2004.
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