Cards start playing catch-up with twin bill vs. Pirates

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The St. Louis Cardinals will continue playing catch-up with their scheduling Thursday when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a doubleheader.

These are makeup games from earlier postponements due to the Cardinals’ COVID-19 outbreak. Major League Baseball wedged the Thursday doubleheader into what was supposed to be a day off in St. Louis’ homestand at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals will start Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0, 1.69 ERA) and Johan Oviedo (0-0, 3.60 ERA) in the doubleheader.

Kim threw six shutout innings in his latest start, a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

“He’s a ‘take it as it comes’ kind of guy,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s going to compete, regardless when and where you pitch him, for the team, and you just have a lot of respect for a guy that has that team mentality of, ‘Wherever you need me, however you need me, I’m going to be available and I’m going to get it done.'”

Kim faced the Pirates in his big league debut July 24 during his brief role as closer. He allowed two runs (one earned) in the ninth inning of a 5-4 victory, earning the save.

Oviedo allowed two runs in five innings in his major league debut Aug. 19 in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He is one of the fresh arms Shildt is counting on to get the team through the bunching of the games.

“We’re in uncharted territories all across the board,” Shildt said. “Everything we’re doing right now, so right now with all the games we’re playing and doubleheaders we have coming up, we’re doing the best we can to take care of our guys.”

The Pirates will start Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.84 ERA) and Cody Ponce (0-1, 5.40 ERA).

Kuhl allowed one run on two hits and three walks in a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. That was his first major league victory since June 15, 2018, before he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 season.

“It’s always cool to win a big-league game. Big-league wins are hard to come by,” Kuhl said. “It’s really cool just to give my team a chance to win. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, was be out there and give our team a chance to win. The long layoff, and then everything, it’s just really cool.”

Kuhl is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

Ponce will draw his first start of the season after working out as a relief during an earlier big-league stint. He has been building arm strength at the Pirates’ alternate training site.

“When we sent Ponce out, we sent him out to be built up, because he had been in the bullpen and we knew we were going to need this start,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “So we wanted somebody that had some length.”

The status of Pirates first baseman Colin Moran remains murky while he deals with concussion symptoms. The same goes for reliever Keone Kela (forearm soreness), but shortstop Kevin Newman (abdominal muscle strain) could see action in the doubleheader.

–Field Level Media

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