National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 7th (All times eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (2-4) at St. Louis Cardinals (3-3), 4:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Tony Cingrani (0-0, 0.00) St. Louis - Michael Wacha (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds pay a visit to Busch Stadium on Monday to open a three-game set with St. Louis in what will be the home opener for the Cardinals, and the second series of the season between these National League Central rivals.
St. Louis kicked off its season by winning two out of three over the Reds in Cincinnati last week. The Cardinals have won 25 of the last 30 series at home against the Reds going back to 2003.
Both teams will send out the same pitchers who faced each other during the second game of the season on Wednesday, as Reds southpaw Tony Cingrani squares off against Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha. It was a scoreless game until Chris Heisey delivered an RBI single in the ninth inning to give the Reds a 1-0 victory. Wacha went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three hits while striking out seven, and Cingrani scattered just two hits over seven innings to go along with nine K's.
Cincinnati is looking for back-to-back wins after it ended a three-game skid with a 2-1 road win over the New York Mets on Sunday. Right-hander Alfredo Simon slid into the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation in place of the injured Mat Latos and allowed just one run over seven innings. It was his first start since 2011 with the Orioles, while starter-turned-reliever Manny Parra earned his first save.
"You couldn't ask any more than we got from Simon and Manny Parra right there," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Cincinnati hopes to get Billy Hamilton back into the lineup after he sat out the last two games of the Mets series with a jammed left middle finger.
For St. Louis, Monday's game marks the team's 2014 Busch Stadium debut and also the raising of the 2013 Nl Championship banner. It will be the Cards' first game at Busch Stadium since Game 5 of the World Series against Boston.
The stadium has undergone a $100 million renovation with the addition of its Ballpark Village, and all in all, manager Mike Matheny is expecting a charged up atmosphere.
The skipper also said he feels Wacha is more than up to the task.
"(Distractions) can always be an issue, but he's had distractions and he's handled them well," Matheny said. "We've had distractions all season long, whether they're rain delays or Opening Days. It's just one thing after another. I think he's prepared for it, and I think he'll do just fine."
However, Mother Nature could have other ideas. Three of the Cardinals' first four games were delayed by rain, and Monday's forecast is calling for an 80- percent chance of showers.
04/07 10:24:39 ET