September 20: Reds (71-83) @ Cardinals (86-68)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

wpid-img_20140920_144701066.jpgWhile the Cardinals have a magic number of seven to clinch the National League Central, they can actually officially claim a postseason berth tonight with a win over the Reds and a Brewers loss to the Pirates. That would ensure the Cardinals of no worse than a second Wild Card berth.

Of course, the Cardinals, with eight games remaining and a 2.5-game lead over Pittsburgh, have their eyes set on bigger things. That’s why you will see a subdued celebration (if one at all) once that wild card spot is secured.

Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams are both out of the lineup due to a stomach illness that is making its way through the clubhouse. Manager Mike Matheny said that both were being quarantined this afternoon. It will be an at-the-moment decision as to whether either is feeling improved enough to contribute later in the game.

It’s unfortunate timing for Adams, who is 8-for-18 with four doubles in his career against Reds starter Mike Leake.

Starting at first base in Adams’ place will be Yadier Molina, who will be making his fourth career start (first of 2014) at the position. The Cardinals wanted to give him a day off from behind the plate, so this was a way to still keep him in the lineup. Matheny went with Tony Cruz over A.J. Pierzynski as a nod to Cruz’s performance on Thursday and his career numbers (4-for-7) against Leake.

A reminder that tonight’s game will be on FOX Sports 1 (not Fox Sports Midwest). Tomorrow’s home finale is an ESPN Sunday night broadcast.

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