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First Pitch: Adam Wainwright takes the mound in rubber match to end West Coast road trip

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Pujols hits 700

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols hits home run number 700 in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses the Cardinals’ legendary duo of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright on the day of their record-breaking 325th start together. And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

First Pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium.

Yadier Molina returns to the lineup after four days off to catch for Adam Wainwright.

Citing general soreness as the reason for Molina's break, Oliver Marmol has said he will try to keep guys healthy and fresh with the playoffs around the corner. Hitting eighth this afternoon, Molina has always hit well at Dodger Stadium, to the tune of an .800 OPS, the sixth best of any park with more than 20 games played. 

As usual on the day before a scheduled day off, Marmol is using an opportunity to give players with particularly high work loads an extra 24 hours off. Albert Pujols is getting that break, while Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt will remain in the lineup and at their primary defensive positions. 

With the right hander on the mound, the Cardinals will go back to the successful tandem of Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar in the leadoff and second spot. Donovan has essentially cemented himself as the starting second base man while Nootbaar has done the same in right field.

The Cardinals did make a shift in future pitching rotations, pushing Jack Flaherty's start back from Milwaukee to a home game against the Pirates. Marmol said this change was made to give them their best chance at clinching while also setting up for the playoffs. Jose Quintana and Miles Mikolas will now start in Milwaukee.

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Lineups

CARDINALS (89-64)

1. Brendan Donovan, 2B

2. Lars Nootbaar, RF

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Juan Yepez, DH

6. Corey Dickerson, LF

7. Dylan Carlson, CF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Tommy Edman, SS

P: Adam Wainwright, RHP

Dodgers (105-47) 

1. Mookie Betts, RF

2. Trea Turner, SS

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Will Smith, C

5. Justin Turner, DH

6. Max Muncy, 3B

7. Joey Gallo, LF

8. Gavin Lux, 2B

9. Cody Bellinger, CF

P: Michael Grove, RHP

Pitching Matchup

RHP Adam Wainwright (11-10, 3.38 ERA): Not having the longevity or results he's wanted in his last four starts, Wainwright hopes to give the Cardinals a fighting chance against the hot-hitting Dodgers. With only three starts left this season, Wainwright needs a long outing to have a chance at 200 innings pitched, entering today's game with 184. 

RHP Michael Grove (0-0, 4.66 ERA): Making the fifth start of his Major League career, Grove debuted earlier this season and has been called up and down all season as a spot starter for the Dodgers. Featuring a three pitch mix (fastball, curveball and slider), the 2018 draft pick has gone a career-best five innings in his previous two starts.

Wild Cards

  • With the start today, Adam Wainwright will pass Bob Forsch for fourth all-time in appearances by a Cardinal. He has made 456 appearances with the club and only trails Jesse Haines, Bob Gibson and Bill Sherdel. 
  • The Cardinals' magic number to clinch the National League Central is four. Any combination of Brewer losses or Cardinals wins that equal five will assure the Cardinals at least the third seed in the NL playoffs. With the Cardinals heading to Milwaukee next week, things could move quickly as a Cardinal win would equal a drop of two in the magic number tracking. They'll host the first-round, wild-card series at Busch Stadium.

Injury Report 

  • Tyler O'Neill has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain. He continues to rest from the Grade 1 strain, and it's not yet clear when he will resume baseball activities, though the Cardinals hope to have a feel for that while they're at Dodger Stadium during the coming weekend. (Updated Sept. 22)
  • Jordan Hicks (arm fatigue) is expected to resume throwing shortly with the possibility of being evaluated for a return during the next home stand, when he is eligible to come off the injured list. A battery of exams of his arm and neck did not show a structural reason for the sensation of fatigue that put him on the IL. (Updated Sept. 22)
  • 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 will return to the Midwest for a two-game stint in Milwaukee where they could potentially clinch the NL Central crown. They then head back to St. Louis for the final home series before visiting Pittsburgh for the final three games of the 2022 season.

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 Sunday night, and also in the pages of Monday's Post-Dispatch. 

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