Cards-Bucs postponed; split twin bill today
Tickets for Tuesday's game to be honored at 12:35 p.m. CT contest
PITTSBURGH -- A full day of rain in Pittsburgh forced the Pirates and Cardinals to postpone their scheduled game Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The critical game in the National League Central race will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader today, when St. Louis can clinch a third straight division title with just one victory.
Nearing the end of a long season, and approaching what they hope to be another long postseason run, one might think the Cardinals welcomed the news of Tuesday's postponement. But that wasn't the case.
St. Louis' 3-0 win Monday night opened up a four-game lead over the Bucs with five games remaining for both teams. The Cardinals were ready to get back on the field Tuesday.
"There are times where I'll sit there and tell you, absolutely, we could use a little blow. I think we were ready to go tonight," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday afternoon. "I think the more we sat and thought about [Monday] night and went through everything that happened, it just amped us up a little bit more to get out there and play again. That's an unforgettable game in my mind."
Wednesday's day-night doubleheader will be the third in PNC Park history -- and the second in two weeks. The Pirates and the Cubs split on Sept. 15, which was the first split twin bill at the park since its maiden 2001 season.
Cards right-hander Michael Wacha, who had been scheduled to start Tuesday, will face Pirates ace Gerrit Cole in Game 1 at 12:35 p.m. CT. St. Louis lefty Tyler Lyons will line up opposite Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton in Game 2 at 6:05 p.m.
With their magic number to win the division at two, the Cardinals could potentially clinch the NL Central with a Game 1 win, only to turn around and play Game 2 a few hours later. Would they celebrate in between?
"I'm not going there," Matheny said. "We have a game to play, and we have a game to win. In my mind, we have one game tomorrow, and then when one game is over, we have another one. I'm not getting too far ahead."
The Cardinals and Bucs have a mutual off-day Thursday. However, the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens that night at nearby Heinz Field. Traffic issues aside, area parking facilities could not handle the demands for two simultaneous games.
Tickets for Tuesday's game will be honored at the 1:35 p.m. game Wednesday. Fans who are unable to attend can exchange the tickets, on a limited basis, for any of the Pirates' remaining home games this season.
The Pirates will also allow fans to exchange Tuesday night's tickets for a select number of home games in April 2016 as soon as individual tickets go on sale this offseason. Details and eligible games will be announced at a later date, according to the club.