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First Pitch: Goldschmidt, Arenado get scheduled day off while Pujols starts in series finale

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In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman celebrates the 324th start of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina by looking back at their first start together. Also, a happy birthday shoutout to Lars Nootbaar! 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 12:35 p.m. at PNC Park.

After a night filled with drama and history, the Cardinals turn around for an afternoon rubber match with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jose Quintana, who was acquired by the Cardinals from the Pirates at the trade deadline earlier this season, will start for the first time against his former club. 

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will get a day off today, one of the rare times both all-stars will be absent from the lineup. Oliver Marmol had highlighted how hard they had been playing and decided to give them two full days off with the travel day tomorrow. It is unlikely either will be used in any capacity; they would have been given the day off regardless of outcome last night. Brendan Donovan will take over at third base and lead off, while Corey Dickerson will play left field and hit in that coveted third spot in the lineup.

Yadier Molina was given the option to take the day off, but he opted to play and will hit eighth in the lineup. 

Tying Alex Rodriguez last night for fourth all-time in home runs with 696, Albert Pujols will be back in the lineup. Marmol has indicated he would really love to see Pujols reach the 700 home run plateau. Batting fourth and playing first base, Pujols has never had a hit against starter Mitch Keller.

Alec Burleson will get another crack at finding his first major league hit, playing DH and hitting ninth. The 2020 draft pick has been a stand out in the minors, racing through three levels in the last two years before making his debut. This season at AAA, Burleson did not go three games without a hit at any point this season. 

Lineups

CARDINALS (82-58)

1. Brendan Donovan, 3B

2. Tommy Edman, SS

3. Corey Dickerson, LF

4. Albert Pujols, 1B

5. Lars Nootbaar, RF

6. Tyler O'Neill, CF

7. Nolan Gorman, 2B

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Alec Burleson, DH

P: Jose Quintana, LHP

PIRATES (51-87)

1. Oneil Cruz, DH

2. Bryan Reynolds, CF

3. Rodolfo Castro, 2B

4. Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B

5. Michael Chavis, 1B

6. Jack Suwinski, LF

7. Kevin Newman, SS

8. Greg Allen, RF

9. Jason Delay, C

P: Mitch Keller, RHP

Pitching Matchup

LHP Jose Quintana (5-6, 3.41 ERA): Making his return to PNC Park, the southpaw starter made 12 starts this season in the Pirates home park, owning a 2.42 ERA with a 3-3 record. 

RHP Mitch Keller (5-10, 4.22 ERA): The hard-throwing righty is having his best season in his four-year career, despite some inconsistent performances; he's already setting career highs in innings pitched, starts, strikeouts and wins. Making his third start against the Cardinals this season, in his last appearance he went 5 1/3 innings allowing two runs.

Wild Cards

  • Since the beginning of August, the Cardinals have the best record in baseball at 28-10. The second-best team, the LA Dodgers, have one less win at 27-10. 
  • The magic number to clinch the division is 15. Any combination of 15 wins for the Cardinals or losses for the Brewers would win St. Louis the NL Central Crown. At the moment, the Cardinals own an eight-game lead.

Injury Report 

  • Left-hander Steven Matz (torn MCL) made his first rehab appearance with AA Springfield, starting and going an inning and a third, allowing three walks but also striking out three. Matz will make his next appearance in the minors Saturday with the Springfield S-Cards with an increased pitch count of 45. From there they will look to diversify his appearances to prepare him as a relief pitcher. (Updated Sept. 9)
  • 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

Playing three games in Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Cardinals will then return home for the longest home stand remaining on the calendar. They play the Brewers, then the Reds, starting on Tuesday.

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.

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