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First Pitch: Cardinals' three veterans get last start against Cubs as a trio

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First Pitch is set for 6:15 p.m. at Busch Stadium

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!

Cardinals fans will get the team's three star veterans in the starting lineup for the last time against the Chicago Cubs tonight. Adam Wainwright will start on the mound, accompanied by his batterymate Yadier Molina for the 323rd time — one shy of the all-time record.

The third team veteran, Albert Pujols, will start at DH and hit fifth with the left-hander Drew Smyly on the mound for the Cubs. In his last appearance against Smyly, Pujols hit the game-winning home run in the seventh inning at Wrigley Field, which lifted Jordan Montgomery to the win in his complete game shutout. The homer also tied Pujols with Barry Bonds for most pitchers a home run has been hit off of, a record Pujols would later pass. 

Recently called up outfielder Ben DeLuzio will also make his first major league start today, playing in centerfield and hitting ninth. The St. Louis native made his major-league debut in last night's game, taking a walk as a pinch hitter. At AAA Memphis in 94 games, the outfielder hit .278. He spent eight years playing in the minors before getting his call to the show.

The tandem of Lars Nootbaar and Brendan Donovan will start the night off, a rare occurrence, yet with a lefty on the mound, the matchup is less ideal. They will likely find themselves as pinch hitters later in the evening. Tyler O'Neill and Dylan Carlson will play in the corner positions between DeLuzio, who is more comfortable in center having played just two games away from center this year in AAA Memphis. O'Neil will hit second, Carlson will hit sixth. 

Paul DeJong will get the start at shortstop with Donovan out, moving Tommy Edman over to second base — creating the ideal infield defensive alignment for Wainwright. 

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Lineups 

CARDINALS (77-55)

1. Tommy Edman, 2B

2. Tyler O'Neill, LF

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Albert Pujols, DH

6. Dylan Carlson, RF

7. Yadier Molina, C

8. Paul DeJong, SS

9. Ben DeLuzio, CF (First Major League Start)

P: Adam Wainwright, RHP

CUBS (56-76)

1. Nick Madrigal, 2B

2. Seiya Suzuki, RF

3. Ian Happ, LF

4. Franmil Reyes, DH

5. Nico Hoerner, SS

6. Rafael Ortega, CF

7. Yan Gomes, C

8. Alfonso Rivas, 1B

9. Zach McKinstry, 3B

P: Drew Smyly, LHP

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Pitching Matchup

RHP Adam Wainwright (9-9, 3.09 ERA): Seeing the Cubs this season has been a blessing for Waino, who owns a 1.28 ERA against the North Siders in three starts this season. If indeed this is is last game against the Cubs, it would be the 48th start of his career against the team, more than any other team in baseball. 

LHP Drew Smyly (5-7, 3.24 ERA): The journeyman lefty was excellent in his last appearance against St. Louis despite taking the loss. One of the best in baseball this year at mixing pitches and speeds, Drew Smyly has been one of the few left-handed pitchers to give the Cardinals fits this summer, owning a 1.29 ERA against the Red Birds.

Transactions

  • The Cardinals have recalled James Naile from AAA Memphis.
  • The Cardinals have selected the contract of CF Ben DeLuzio from AAA Memphis.

Injury Report 

  • RHP Jack Flaherty (shoulder) made his final rehab start at AA Springfield and is scheduled to return to the Cardinals to start on Labor Day. Throwing six and two thirds innings and striking out nine, Flaherty did not allow a run until the seventh inning. He is set to make he return to the majors on Monday in a start against the Washington Nationals (Updated Sept. 2)
  • Left-hander Steven Matz (torn MCL) will throw a bullpen with higher intensity on Saturday. With that done, he will be pointed toward being used as a relief pitcher and may begin a rehab timetable for a return. (Updated Aug. 26)
  • 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 finish the final weekend series against the Chicago Cubs Sunday before welcoming the Washington Nationals to Busch Stadium for a four-game weekday home stand.

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 Saturday night, and also in the pages of Sunday'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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