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First Pitch: Cardinals look to reset after frustrating loss in series opener

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First Pitch is scheduled for 6:45 at Busch Stadium.

After a disappointing start to the series, dropping game one to the team with the worst record in baseball, the Cardinals will look to bounce back Tuesday night behind their left-handed trade deadline acquisition. Jose Quintana will take the mound for the Cardinals for the sixth time this season, with the Cardinals winning in five of those games, and he'll pitch to Andrew Knizner behind the plate. 

After getting the day off yesterday, in a game where manager Oliver Marmol implied they couldn't wait to finish, Brendan Donovan returns to the lineup in his familiar second spot. He'll man third base as Nolan Arenado takes over as designated hitter.

That positional shift is the primary change to the otherwise standard Cardinals lineup against right-handed pitching. Albert Pujols hits the bench to start the game against Nationals starter Paolo Espino, and Paul Goldschmidt returns to first base after DH'ing on Monday. 

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses Cardinals’ outfielder Lars Nootbaar, whose amazing plate discipline and power has led to a stellar season. And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

Lineups 

CARDINALS (79-55)

1. Lars Nootbaar, RF

2. Brendan Donovan, 3B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, DH

5. Corey Dickerson, LF

6. Tyler O'Neill, CF

7. Nolan Gorman, 2B

8. Andrew Knizner, C

9. Tommy Edman, SS

P: Jose Quintana, LHP

Nationals (47-87)

1. Lane Thomas, CF

2. Joey Meneses, RF

3. Luke Voit, 1B

4. Nelson Cruz, DH

5. Keibert Ruiz, C

6. Luis Garcia, 2B

7. Alex Call, LF

8. Ildemaro Vargas, 3B

9. C.J. Abrams, SS

P: Paolo Espino, RHP

Pitching Matchup

LHP Jose Quintana (4-6, 3.47 ERA): Quintana has been solid for the Cardinals in his starts but has yet to break out in any one game, While he did go six innings in his first two appearances, he has not gone that long since, only completing the fifth inning twice in the next four starts. In starts at Busch Stadium though, he has yet to fail to finish the fifth inning. 

RHP Paolo Espino (0-6, 4.22 ERA): The fourth-year starter has mostly been used out the bullpen this year but will be making his 16th start of the season. While he is winless in those appearances, he did throw a complete game in a start against the Phillies in early August...a game in which he only threw four innings due to being shortened in a rainout. 

Wild Cards

  • The Cardinals trade deadline acquisitions have paid dividends immediately. After Jo Jo Romero appeared in Saturdays win, the Cardinals improved to 24-3 in games where their new players have appeared.
  • The magic number to clinch the division is 21, meaning any combination of 21 wins for the Cardinals or losses for the Brewers would win them the NL Central Crown. At this moment the Cardinals own a 7.5-game lead.

Injury Report 

  • Left-hander Steven Matz (torn MCL) will head to Class AA Springfield for a rehab appearance Tuesday. He will be preparing to return to the majors in a relief role, so his rehab work could be abbreviated and will be a test of his ability to bounce back day to day. The Cardinals have not decided if he'll appear in back-to-back games, but they would like to see him handle at least two innings in one appearance before returning to the majors. (Updated Sept. 4)
  • RHP Drew VerHagen (hip) and RHP Alex Reyes (shoulder) underwent season-ending surgeries. Both right-handed pitchers are expected to be ready for spring training after a winter of recovery. (Updated Aug. 20)

Up Next

The Cardinals continue the four-game home stand against the Washington Nationals.

Check back here throughout the afternoon and 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 Tuesday night, and also in the pages of Wednesday's Post-Dispatch.

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses Paul Goldschmidt, Albert Pujols, Jordan Montgomery and the scorching Cardinals of August. Also, a happy birthday shoutout to Debbie Gibson! And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

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