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First Pitch: Tyler O’Neill returns as Cardinals take on Dodgers in rubber match

Tyler O’Neill has returned to the lineup for the first time since June 19, when he went on the injured list with a calf strain. Before his injury, it appeared O’Neill had begun to feel confident in his swing, getting six hits, including a home run, in his two games before being injured. To make room on the 25-man-roster, Lars Nootbar was sent down to AAA Memphis. 

From earlier… 

After a bullpen meltdown on Wednesday, the Cardinals will look to Dakota Hudson for Thursday’s rubber match with the Dodgers as they seek their first series win of July. 

The Cardinals have had trouble this season winning the final game of series, going 11-17 this year in the final game. They have been better of late, though, winning each of the last two series finales against the Braves and Phillies. Still, those wins were to escape a four-game sweep and to secure a series draw, respectively, so neither was to secure the crucial rubber match in a three-game series. The last time the Cardinals won a rubber match was June 5 at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. 

Having used seven relief pitchers for 11 appearances out of the pen in the last two days, the Cardinals will need strong performances from Hudson and the relief arms who remain available. 



1. Tommy Edman, SS

2. Dylan Carlson, CF

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Albert Pujols, DH

6. Tyler O’Neill, LF

7. Juan Yepez,, RF

8. Brendan Donovan, 2B

9. Andrew Knizner, C

P: Dakota Hudson, RHP


1. Mookie Betts, RF

2. Trea Turner, SS

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Will Smith, C

5. Justin Turner, DH

6. Jake Lamb, LF 

7. Max Muncy, 3B

8. Cody Bellinger, CF

9. Gavin Lux, 2B

P: Tyler Anderson, LHP 

Pitching Matchup

RHP Dakota Hudson (6-5, 4.00): Coming off one of his strongest performances of the year, the Cardinals will need longevity out of Hudson to keep their bullpen fresh headed into the All-Star break. Hudson, a ground ball specialist, will have his hands full with the Dodgers, who have the lowest ground ball rate in major league baseball.

LHP Tyler Anderson (9-1, 3.15): After a slow start to the season, the former first round pick has been a model of consistency for his club. While his stats are weaker on the road than at home, particularly getting less than half as many strikeouts per nine inning away from Dodger Stadium, Anderson gives his team a chance to win every time out. 

Wild Cards

  • Paul Goldschmidt’s 67 RBI are the most by a Cardinal before the All-Star break since Allan Craig’s 74 in 2013. 
  • Prior to last night, the Cardinals were 37-1 when entering the 7th inning with the lead, and 38-2 when entering the 8th inning with the lead. 

Three Up

  1. How plucky Packy Naughton dodged LA magic, conjured outs in Cardinals’ breathtaking win
  2. BenFred: Cardinals need a little more from Ryan Helsley, along with one big save from front office

  3. All-Star Ryan Helsley is unavailable and Cardinals bullpen can’t hold off Dodgers

Three Down

  1. Best Podcast in Baseball: How a team aimless in July can become champion by October

  2. Dickerson, Pujols can add heft to Cardinals’ first-half resolution: ‘Finishing strong’

  3. Ten Hochman: Walk-off All-Star Game HR? Cardinals’ Stan Musial did so this day in 1955


  • OF Tyler O’Neill (Calf) has been activated off the injured list 
  • OF Lars Nootbar has been optioned to AAA Memphis


Injury Updates

  • C Yadier Molina (right-knee inflammation) has mapped out a return to playing in St. Louis that would see him returning in early August. Molina had been prescribed rest to help manage the swelling in his knee and has been rehabbing in Puerto Rico since Flag Day. (Updated July 13)
  • OF Harrison Bader has been placed on the 10-day IL with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He has been able to take swings and throw at Busch Stadium and says he felt improved. He was spending half the day in a boot to accelerate healing at times in the past week. The Cardinals do not think he’ll return to center field before the All-Star break. (Updated July 12)
  • LHP Steven Matz (shoulder) threw 4? innings Tuesday night for the AAA Memphis Redbirds, marking his third rehab appearance. He is set to return as the Cardinals starter for Sundays game against the Reds.  
  • RHP Jack Flaherty (shoulder) has been moved to the 60-Day IL meaning he would not be available until late August, at the earliest. While initially Flaherty’s return timeline was considered ‘fluid’, and it remains so. The transactions gives a structure to a spring training-like return for the right-hander and a rehab assignment that could take a month, if necessary. (Updated July 12)

Up Next

The Cardinals finish their series against Los Angeles before seeing the Cincinnati Reds to close the opening half of the season. The Cardinals will not return to Busch Stadium until August after this homestand.

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 Thursday night, and also in the pages of Friday’s Post-Dispatch.


St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos leaves the field after giving up two runs and the lead in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at Busch Stadium. Photo by Robert Cohen,

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos leaves the field after giving up two runs and the lead in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at Busch Stadium. Photo by Robert Cohen,

Carter Chapley

@ChapleyMedia on Twitter

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