Storm warning: Rain postpones Round 2 of revived Cardinals-Mets rivalry | St. Louis Cardinals

NEW YORK-The decision to postpone Monday’s game because of the soggy forecast and, coincidentally, score a breather for the Mets’ weathered pitching staff came hours before the Cardinals had to address the standard day-after question for a new reliever following his debut.

Fresh from finishing Sunday’s game, it didn’t matter Monday if the Cardinals’ latest addition to the pitching staff could bounce back to give them an inning.

Albert Pujols could rest his right arm.

“Once he gets a little treatment we’ll see,” manager Oliver Marmol said, humoring a reporter’s question on Pujols’ availability. “We weren’t willing to use him on back-to-back days anyways.”

With a thunderstorm warning for the area, the Mets preemptively rescheduled the opener of their series against the Cardinals at Citi Field for a doubleheader Tuesday. Splotches of downpours did arrive in Queens, around the ballpark, an hour or two before the scheduled game time. First pitch of the four-game series now will be at 2:10 pm St. Louis time Tuesday, and it will be a true single-ticket doubleheader with both games going at least nine innings and the second game coming around 40 minutes after the first.

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Storm clouds gathered for this series more than a week ago – but not ones sodden with precipitation. The kind that rumble with premeditation.

The Mets and Cardinals had a bruising series late last month at Busch Stadium that ended in a shoving match with both teams fuming about hit batters, inside pitches, and implied intent. A fracas broke out in the final game of the series when Nolan Arenado took issue with an up-and-in pitch and confronted a Mets pitcher since demoted to the minors. The resulting brouhaha included coach Stubby Clapp wrestling Mets slugger Pete Alonso to the ground. Two Cardinals, Arenado and Genesis Cabrera, and zero Mets received suspensions. A total of eight players were hit by pitches in that series. Five were Mets.

They’ve been hit by 25 pitches this season, and they don’t mind bringing it up.

“Getting domed-up isn’t fun,” Alonso said in St. Louis. Louis in late April. “It’s obviously not safe. It’s dangerous, and there (are) consequences whether it’s on purpose or not. And we’re going to stand up for ourselves. I’m totally for standing up. ”

As he left the clubhouse Monday afternoon for the team bus returning to Manhattan, Marmol paused when asked if the teams had received a warning from Major League Baseball or umpires in advance of the four-game visit to Queens.

The answer was no, he said. The pause was not to weigh a response.

“Honestly, I didn’t even think about it until you brought it up, right now,” Marmol said. “It took me a second to understand what you were asking.”

Monday’s postponement puts two teams that got pretty tired of each at the ballpark for two games Tuesday – and four games in the span of 48 hours.

Both teams get a chance to rest their pitching before stretching it.

The initial benefit may be greater to the Mets, who planned to have a bullpen start of sorts on Monday and are coming off their first series loss of the season. They also placed starter Tylor Megill, who was set for this series, on the injured list with biceps tendinitis. Trevor Williams was the announced starter for Monday’s game, though he was likely to go only 65 pitches. The Mets are expected to stick with Williams for a short start in the doubleheader and have right-hander Taijuan Walker start the other game. The Mets have chosen to have a 27th man on the roster for both games – allowing the Cardinals to do the same. That gives the chance to add one pitcher, as needed, for the games.

The Cardinals have Miles Mikolas set to start one of the two games, and Steven Matz was announced as the Tuesday starter. The Cardinals had not committed to starters as of late Monday, weighing the option of adding a starter to avoid needing one later. They play nine games in the next eight days before an off day.

While Pujols’ first appearance in relief entertained him and the home crowd – he is the only player in history with 3,000 hits and 600 home runs to also pitch an inning – it also had a practical purpose that the Cardinals carried into Monday. A member of the bullpen did not have to throw the last inning. The Cardinals’ trio of late-inning relievers got a break. And with Adam Wainwright covering six innings and Drew VerHagen pitching the eighth, the Cardinals start the series at Citi with a ready relief corps.

And, due to the postponement – rested, too.

After Sunday night’s national broadcast game, the Cardinals got to their Manhattan hotel rooms close to 4 am local time. Many had come to the ballpark, worked out, heard about the postponement, and left less than 12 hours later. Lefty Matz, a Long Island native and former Met, was one of the last Cardinals to leave the field. He threw a ball repeatedly against the padded wall in foul territory. He’d scoop the ball as it caromed back to him and then throw again. He was playing catch on his own just “to get some more reps in,” he said after watching a teammate’s bullpen.

Earlier in the day, Pujols made a visit to Jordan Lopez’s barbershop in Washington Heights-he’s even taken Mike Trout for a trim by the barber-and La Vida Baseball shared video of the three-time MVP joking about his pitching appearance. He laughed as he acknowledged his 36.00 ERA after allowing two home runs, and he called for ice for his arm.

Pujols, 42, and Wainwright, 40, are the first fortysomething Cardinals to pitch in the same game according to Elias research since Sept. 24, 1997, when Tony Fossas and Dennis Eckersley both pitched in relief.

Fossas didn’t get an out and took the loss.

Pujols and Wainwright combined for 21 of the 27 outs in a win.

The Cardinals hope not to need either of them to pitch during this series.

“Guys were ready to play,” Marmol said leaving the ballpark. “Guys were prepared to go. We’ll fire it back up. ”


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