July 19: Dodgers (54-44) @ Cardinals (53-44)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

wpid-img_20140719_111906448.jpgJoe Kelly returns to the mound today for his second start since returning from the disabled list. His first outing had its bumps, as Kelly allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks while lasting only three innings. Kelly has had eight days to rest since that start, and the Cardinals are hopeful that he’ll now be able to push toward 100 pitches.

Kelly will be throwing to new Cardinals catcher George Kottaras, who is making his first start since joining the club a week ago. While the Cards still intend to give Tony Cruz the bulk of the starts in Yadier Molina’s absence, the club does need to keep Kottaras involved and get him familiar with a new pitching staff.

Also making his first start of the second half is Oscar Taveras, who takes Allen Craig’s place in right field. Craig is 1-for-6 against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke.

The Cardinals enter the day still trailing the Brewers by one game in the National League Central. Their 53 wins are only one off the NL high, shared by Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

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