Posted: Sep 16, 2013 4:58 PM by Clayton Conness, Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Sep 16, 2013 7:11 PM
DENVER - The chase for the NL Central division crown is less than two weeks from concluding, and the two teams at the top have nothing separating them. The Cardinals and Pirates both share an 87-62 record with 12 games remaining before the postseason.
St. Louis opens a series in the mile-high city Monday night, but they will have to battle the Rockies a bit shorthanded. First baseman Allen Craig did not make the trip as a result of a sprained left foot. The three day break for Craig is an attempt to give him more time to complete his rehab process prior to the playoffs. Matt Adams is once again expected to fill in for the injured infielder. Adams has put together a .265 batting average over the course of Craig's absence, including three home runs and six RBI's.
Taking the mound for the Redbirds is right-hander Lance Lynn. Although he has not recorded a win since Aug. 9, Lynn displayed promise by striking out 10 batters and allowing a single unearned run over six innings against Milwaukee in his last outing. Getting the no-decision, it was a much better outcome than his prior six starts, in which he posted an 0-5 mark with a 6.88 ERA.
Lynn will be going up against fellow-righty Collin McHugh. McHugh has made just one start this season after being acquired from the Mets, allowing six runs on five hits on July 27. He's filling in for Dane De La Rosa, who is taking a breather from uneasiness in his left thumb and index finger.
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are set to take on the Padres. The Bucs will send A.J. Burnett to the mound as he'll take on Andrew Cashner. Burnett has an impressive 2.32 ERA at home this season with a 4-3 record while Cashner has pitched through at least six innings in 18 of his last 21 roundabouts. Pittsburgh has recently been boosted by the offensive domination of Marlon Byrd. He has hit .333 with seven doubles and eight runs in a Pirates uniform this year after being dealt from the Mets earlier in the season.
The Pittsburgh game began at 6:05 with the mountain zone game following at 7:40.