After dropping three of four games in Milwaukee to open the regular season, the Cardinals have traveled east to Pittsburgh, where they will play two games with the Pirates this week. This will be PNC Park’s opening series, as the Pirates played the Reds in Cincinnati over the weekend.
On Monday afternoon, Chris Archer will toe the rubber for the Pirates in their home opener. Archer is entering his first full season with the Pirates after a trade at the deadline last summer acquired him from the Rays. This is Archer’s eighth season in the Majors as he enters his age 30 season. In a combined 27 starts between Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh in 2018, Archer had a 3.75 FIP and a 1.15 HR/9 rate - his lowest since 2015.
The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright. Wainwright signed a one-year contract over the winter to keep him in St. Louis for the 2019 season. Set to turn 38 years old in August, there is speculation that this could be Wainwright’s final season debut. Wainwright made eight starts for the Cardinals in 2018; he dealt with a hamstring strain early in the season before elbow inflammation consumed him for much of the summer. Wainwright has an opponents’ OPS of .693 in his 18 career appearances at PNC Park.
After a day off on Tuesday, Jameson Taillon will start for the Pirates on Wednesday evening. Pittsburgh is taking advantage of the day off they had on Friday, the rain out on Saturday, and the day off they will have on Tuesday. With Wednesday is set to be the fourth game the Pirates have played and be Taillon’s second start. On Opening Day against the Reds, Taillon allowed four runs in his six innings of work. In 18 starts dating back to 2016, Taillon has limited the Cardinals to a .238 batting average with just 10 extra-base hits.
Miles Mikolas will make his second start of the season for the Cardinals in the finale of this two-game set. Mikolas allowed three home runs in his assignment against the Brewers last Thursday after surrendering a total of 16 long balls in all of 2018. Mikolas will look to rebound against a Pirates team he limited to 11 runs across 31 frames last year.
So, to recap:
Monday, 4/1, 12:05 | Archer v Wainwright | ESPN, Fox Sports Midwest, KMOX, CRN
Wednesday, 4/3, 6:05 | Mikolas v Taillon | Fox Sports Midwest, KMOX, CRN
Notes from around the league:
-Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich homered in each of the first four games to open up the season to tie a record shared with Willie Mays, Mark McGwire (!!), Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, and Trevor Story. The Brewers will be Cincinnati on Monday, and we know how the ball can jump out of GABP.