Friday, April 10, 2015

NL Central foes Cards, Reds set to lock horns

With their opening series out of the way, the Cardinals and Reds are set to meet on Friday for the first of 19 regular-season games between the division opponents. The series opener, which has a scheduled first pitch of 7:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park, will feature a pair of 36-year-old veteran righties who have made a combined 663 Major League starts between them. John Lackey is beginning his first full season with the Cardinals, while Jason Marquis is set to make his Cincinnati debut.
Three things to know about this game:
• When Marquis takes the mound on Friday, 630 days will have passed since he last pitched in a Major League game. Marquis, who found a fit in the Reds' rotation following a Minor League invite to camp, can now cross a ninth team off his career list. One of his previous stops was in St. Louis, where he pitched for the Cardinals from 2004-06 and made seven postseason appearances.
• Though the Cardinals signed corner infielder Mark Reynolds primarily to spot Matt Adams days off against lefties, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny may give some thought to giving Reynolds his first start on Friday. He is 5-for-16 with three walks, a homer and three RBIs against Marquis. Adams started his season with strikeouts in three of his first six at-bats.
• Both the Cardinals and Reds are locked in a stretch of games against National League Central opponents. Cincinnati opens the season with 22 consecutive games against division foes, while the Cardinals play 24 of their first 31 against NL Central competition.

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