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First Pitch: Albert Pujols starts at first base in game one of Cardinals doubleheader

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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 12:15 p.m. at Busch Stadium.

Albert Pujols will start at first base Saturday in game one of the doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. He will hit second for the first time this season. The decision to put him that high up in the lineup serves a duel purpose for the Cardinals batting order.

Not only will it give Pujols more opportunities at the plate to hit his 699th home run, but with a left-hander on the mound, it also forces the Reds to make a decision about the bullpen faster and earlier in the game. The Reds can either allow the lefty starter to see Pujols a second or third time or be forced to go to the bullpen early and burn a relief arm — a vital decision with a second game to come later today. 

Paul Goldschmidt will DH in the opening game, opting to keep Nolan Arenado on the field instead as the Reds have more right-handed hitters and would likely hit more balls to third base than they would first base. 

Dylan Carlson is back with the club after a left thumb strain kept him out of the lineup. He will start in center field. Carlson had a short but successful rehab assignment with the Memphis Redbirds where he played seven innings and hit two doubles Friday night — one from each side of the plate. 

Dakota Hudson has been added to the Cardinals roster as the 28th man, a move permissible due to the doubleheader. He will start game one with Jose Quintana taking the ball in game two. Yadier Molina will catch for Hudson.

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Lineups

CARDINALS (85-60)

1. Tommy Edman, 2B

2. Albert Pujols, DH

3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Dylan Carlson, CF

6. Paul DeJong, SS

7. Brendan Donovan, LF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Ben DeLuzio, CF

P: Dakota Hudson, RHP

REDS (57-87)

1. TJ Friedl, DH

2. Jonathan India, 2B

3. Kyle Farmer, SS

4. Jake Fraley, LF

5. Donovan Solano, 1B

6. Aristides Aquino, RF

7. Alejo Lopez, 3B

8. Matt Reynolds, 1B

9. Chuckie Robinson, C

P: LHP Mike Minor

Pitching Matchup

RHP Dakota Hudson (7-7, 4.43 ERA): Hudson has been solid in the minors since being optioned there at the end of August. The Cardinals are hoping to see Hudson show as much command over the four pitches he threw while in Memphis, as well as pitching a pace — something the MILB pitch clock seemed to expedite for the young righty.

LHP Mike Minor  (4-11, 5.78 ERA): Minor has escaped the wrath of Albert Pujols for the most part in his career, allowing six hits but none of which were home runs. 

Wild Cards

  • Ryan Helsley threw the third immaculate inning in Cardinals history last night in his save. The fireball right-handed reliever registered three strikeouts on nine pitches. All strikes. The previous two in the franchises long history belong to Jason Isringhausen in 2002, and Bob Gibson in 1969.

  • The Cardinals have been strong in doubleheaders this season, going 7-3 in 10 games over five series. St. Louis has not been swept in a series, but have split three of them while sweeping two themselves.

Injury Report 

  • Dylan Carlson has been removed from the IL. 
  • Tyler O'Neill has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain.
  • Left-hander Steven Matz (torn MCL) threw a scoreless one inning in relief Thursday, the second time he has done so. He will now be reevaluated with the potential to rejoin the Cardinals as a relief pitcher on their west coast road trip. (Updated Sept. 16)
  • 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 host the Reds for five games, including a doubleheader on Saturday, before jetting west for a road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego.  

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. Also check back for continued coverage of game two of the double header.

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses this day in Cardinals history, when a team legend drove in 12 runs! Plus, a happy birthday shoutout to Richard Marx. 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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