April 9: Reds (2-6) @ Cardinals (5-3)
Allen Craig, 3-for-31 to start the season, gets a day off today as manager Mike Matheny looks for ways to get him going. There is no talk of any injury concerns, but it’s evident that Craig’s timing is a hint off. He was the only position player not to reach base in Tuesday’s win.
With Craig sitting, Jon Jay will make his first start in right field since 2011, when he started 30 games there.
Behind starter Shelby Miller, the Cardinals will be going for their first sweep of the season today. They’ve already ensured themselves of a series win, their 26th in the last 31 series played against the Reds in St. Louis.
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Also, it will be interesting to see how Matheny manages the back-end of his bullpen today if the Cardinals carry a tight lead late. Both Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal pitched in the first two games of this series. One or both of them could be deemed unavailable to go today. Matheny would not show his hand pregame.
The Cardinals did not take on-field batting practice today, but Mark Ellis was out on the outfield grass early testing his left knee with some running. He later joined the infielders for groundball work. After initially indicating that Ellis would need to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list, Matheny said on Wednesday that those plans could change. It’s still unlikely that Ellis will be activated from the DL on Friday, his first date of eligibility.
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