SEATTLE — As part of the Cardinals’ interleague schedule in 2020, the New York Yankees will visit Busch Stadium for the first time since 2014, when St. Louis was a stop on the Derek Jeter retirement tour.
The schedule for 2020 is still being finalized, but according to officials who have seen the preliminary calendar the Cardinals will host the Yankees and Baltimore as part of their interleague schedule, which pits the NL Central against American League East clubs.
The Cardinals will also again open the season on the road, this time in Cincinnati, according to a source who has seen the schedule. It will be the third consecutive year the Cardinals open on the road and the eighth time in nine years. With the festive nature of the Cardinals’ home opener and a wish to limit the number of April games due to weather and school nights, the club does not object to opening on the road.
On their interleague schedule, the Cardinals will have a three-game series at Boston’s Fenway Park, and they will also visit the Tampa Bay area to face Tommy Pham and the Rays. The Cardinals and Toronto will play two two-game series, one in each city, and the Cardinals will have four games in a home-and-home series against Kansas City.
Several elements of the schedule have been announced: The Cardinals travel to London for a two-game series against the Cubs in June. Before participating in the Reds’ historic opening day celebration later in the week, the Cardinals will play an exhibition game at the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark March 23.
Center fielder Randy Arozarena, whose surging play has the attention of the major-league team, and pitcher Alvaro Seijas won the organization’s pitcher and player of the month award, respectively.
Arozarena, 24, hit .374/.456/.607 in June with five homers and 20 RBIs. He vaulted from Class AA to Class AAA, and went nine-for-14 (.643) in the final three games of the month for the Redbirds. Seijas, 20, was promoted to High-A Palm Beach on Wednesday after going 101 with a 2.20 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings at Low-A Peoria in June.
• Zack Thompson, the 19th overall selection in last month’s major-league draft, was added to Palm Beach’s active roster Thursday. The lefty threw 90 innings this past spring for the University of Kentucky, and the Cardinals will limit his workload this season. By being on the PB-Cardinals’ roster, Thompson can get game experience in a pitcher-friendly league and call the team’s Jupiter, Fla., complex home with all of its facilities and available coaches.
Matt Carasiti, a righthanded reliever, started two of the Mariners’ three games against the Cardinals this week, and each time he was followed into the game by a lefty. That usage of baseball’s new toy – the “opener” – forced the Cardinals to write a lineup geared toward the first inning or start one designed for matchups against the pitcher who would be in the gamer longer.
With three switch-hitters on his roster, Shildt opted Thursday to start Tommy Edman so that the opener faced a lefthanded-hitting Edman, Yairo Munoz was down in the lineup to likely face the lefty Tommy Milone and then Edman would hit righthanded from there. Same with Dexter Fowler and Matt Wieters toward the back of the lineup.
“You’re committing to that one (inning),” the manager said. “Are you going to sit there and worry about the one inning, or one inning-plus depending on what the guy does? Or, are you going to give yourself an opportunity against the other bulk of the innings from the starter and beat him? We’ve got a beautiful opportunity to able to do both.”
Seattle notified the Cardinals each day who would be the pitcher to follow Carasiti into the game. Teams aren’t required to do that, but opponents can usually reverse-engineer the plan. Teams are now required to announce the opener, closing what Shildt called a “loophole” that the Brewers used a year ago to start a lefty specialist against the Cardinals for one batter, leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter.