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First Pitch: Rookie Liberatore takes the mound looking to avoid losing streak

The Cardinals squandered key performances from Miles Mikolas and Nolan Arenado in the series opening loss on Friday afternoon. They will now turn to their top pitching prospect to get the win in game two and try to avoid their fourth straight series loss to the Phillies in Philadelphia.

St. Louis has made a series of roster moves to accommodate the promotion of Matthew Liberatore as well as other moves. The recall is Liberatore’s fourth of the season, and he, along with Jordan Hicks — who has come off the 15-day injured listed — has joined the club. Jake Woodford was optioned to AAA Memphis to make space on the 25-man roster, while Nick Wittgren was also designated for assignment.

Today is Cardinals’ manager Oli Marmol’s 36th birthday. He is the youngest manager in Major League Baseball.



1. Tommy Edman, SS

2.Brendan Donovan, LF

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Nolan Gorman, 2B

6. Juan Yepez, DH

7. Dylan Carlson, CF

8. Lars Nootbar, RF

9. Ivan Herrera, C

P: Matt Liberatore


1. Kyle Schwarber, DH

2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B

3. Nick Castellanos, RF 

4. JT Realmuto, C

5. Alec Bohm, 3B

6. Matt Vierling, LF 

7. Odubel Herrera, CF 

8. Yairo Munoz, 2B 

9. Byron Scott, SS 

P: Kyle Gibson

Pitching matchup

Matthew Liberatore, LHP (2-1, 4.00 ERA): The number three prospect in the organization, Liberatore will make his fifth career start and first since June 14. With injuries abounding in the pitching staff, it is expected today’s start will be the first of many for Liberatore in the stretch leading into the All-Star game. 

Kyle Gibson, LHP (4-3, 4.48 ERA): A Mizzou alum, Gibson will be making his second career start against the Cardinals. In his previous start he gave up three runs over six innings. Throws a sinker in for over 30% of his pitches leading to a groundball rate of over 50%. 

Wild Cards

  • Phillies starter Kyle Gibson has plenty of ties to the St. Louis area and the Cardinals. In addition to working closely with Adam Wainwright as vice president of Wainwright’s non-profit “Big League Impact,” he was also a standout at the University of Missouri and was a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes award in 2009.
  • Nolan Arenado hit for the cycle for the second time in his career in Friday’s series opener. It was the franchise’s 17th cycle of all time and the first since Mark Grudzielanek vs. Milwaukee at Busch Stadium II on April 27, 2005.

Three up

  1. Arenado’s cycle for Cardinals doesn’t get that much attention because Phillies rally for 5-3 win
  2. BenFred: Amid injuries in NL MVP race, Goldschmidt’s durability should stand out

  3. By staying grounded, ‘legit dude’ Pallante rewriting his role with Cardinals on the fly

Three down

  1. Derrick Goold reunites with Bernie Miklasz for the 10th anniversary of the Best Podcast in Baseball

  2. Lifelong Cardinals fan, and now player, James Naile comes home in big league debut

  3. Inside Pitch: Cardinals can get better before trade deadline without dealing top prospects


  • LHP Matt Liberatore has been recalled from AAA Memphis. He will start in Jack Flaherty’s spot in the rotation.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks has been removed from the 15-Day-IL and joins the Cardinals. He will be available out of the bullpen.
  • RHP Jake Woodford has been optioned to AAA Memphis. He will remain with the Cardinals on the taxi squad.
  • RHP Nick Wittgren has been Designated for Assignment.

Injury updates

  • LHP Steven Matz (shoulder) threw two clean innings in a rehab assignment at AAA Memphis Tuesday night. He will start Saturday for the Redbirds for 45 pitches.
  • LHP T.J. McFarland returned to the Cardinals after a stint on the 10-Day IL with COVID. He will throw bullpens at Busch Stadium over the weekend before heading out on a rehab assignment in the minors.
  • RHP Jack Flaherty (shoulder) has been placed on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain. (Updated June 27)
  • OF Harrison Bader has been placed on the 10-day IL with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. (Updated June 27)
  • LHP Genesis Cabrera has been placed on the 10-Day IL. He is undergoing re-entry protocols while working out as best he can in quarantine. (Updated June 25)
  • RHP Drew VerHagen has been placed on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder impingement. (Updated June 24)
  • C Yadier Molina (right-knee inflammation) has been placed on the 10-day IL due to an aggravated right knee, the placement is retroactive to June 16. He has been prescribed several weeks of rest before ramping up activities. There is no timetable for his return. Molina has returned to Puerto Rico to rest and the club will check in next week. (Updated June 24)
  • OF Tyler O’Neill has been placed on the 10-day IL with a Grade 1 tear of his left hamstring. He has intensified his baseball activities and is expected to start a rehab early next week.
  • OF Corey Dickerson (calf muscle) has returned to St. Louis after his rehab assignment in Memphis, but will not be coming off the IL. He has aggravated his calf injury and will be reevaluated before moving forward. (Updated June 24)
  • RHP Alex Reyes (torn labrum) required surgery to repair damage in his right throwing shoulder. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. (Updated June 15)
  • RHP Jake Walsh (elbow) received PRP treatment, and has been shut down for six to eight weeks. (Updated June 24)

Who’s next

Game 3 vs. Philadelphia: Adam Wainwright (6-5, 3.07 ERA) vs. TBA

Up next

The Cardinals continue to swing through the NL East, embarking on a seven-game trip through Philadelphia and Atlanta before returning home to face the Phillies again. 

Check back here throughout the evening for immediate coverage of the game and any news that surfaces from the Cardinals’ pre-game activities. We will publish expanded game coverage online Saturday night, and also in the pages of Sunday’s Post-Dispatch.


Cardinals starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore works against the Pirates on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore works against the Pirates on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Busch Stadium.

Carter Chapley

@ChapleyMedia on Twitter

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