The St. Louis Cardinals and the visiting Minnesota Twins will continue their pushes toward the postseason when they play an interleague doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Twins (26-17) are one game off the lead in the American League Central. The Cardinals (17-16) are in second place in the National League Central, 2 1/2 games off the pace.
The Cardinals are set to start Carlos Martinez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) and Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-3, 7.82) in the twin bill. The Twins will counter with Jose Berrios (3-3, 4.29) and Randy Dobnak (6-2, 2.72).
Martinez will make his first start since recovering from COVID-19 and just his second start of the season. His other start was on July 28 on the road against the Twins. He allowed six runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
He returns to the club after training at the team’s alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., under the guidance of minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque and longtime Cardinals coach Jose Oquendo.
“Timmy’s been with us a long time, we trust his feedback, and Oquendo has been down there, so we feel comfortable and confident with the eyes on him,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “And (Martinez) is a guy we know, too. Pretty proven guy. He’s healthy, checking the boxes, and he’ll get the opportunity to start.”
Ponce de Leon faced the Twins on July 29 and allowed three runs on two hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. The Cardinals recalled him from their alternate training site to serve as the 29th player for the doubleheader.
In his most recent major league start, Ponce de Leon retired just two batters in a 14-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 28. He gave up four runs while walking four batters and allowing two hits, including a three-run homer by Franmil Reyes.
Berrios recorded an 8-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox in his previous start. He allowed the one run on three hits in six innings while striking out eight batters and walking two.
“It was a fantastic start from beginning to end from him, something we really needed,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think it meant a lot to him to be able to do it for himself, but also for the team and for his teammates. I think this start meant a lot to him, and we’re very happy and very proud with what he was able to do going out there.”
Berrios allowed just four runs in 17 2/3 innings over his last three starts. In 2018, he won his only career start against the Cardinals while allowing just one run in 7 1/3 innings.
Dobnak is expected to start the second game working on short rest. He threw five scoreless innings in his most recent start, a 2-0 seven-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers in a doubleheader on Friday.
This will be his first career appearance against the Cardinals.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina left the team’s 5-1 road loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon due to a left elbow contusion.
Twins slugger Nelson Cruz has been hobbled by a sore hip, but Baldelli said he hoped Cruz would be ready to play Tuesday.
The Twins bolstered their bullpen by bringing reliever Cody Stashak off the 10-day injured list Monday, and he threw a scoreless inning in their 6-2 home victory over the Detroit Tigers. Stashak missed 23 games because of lower back inflammation.
The Twins optioned Devin Smeltzer to their alternate training site to make room for Stashak.
–Field Level Media