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Rain delays getting 'old' for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Ponchos and umbrellas became a common sight at Busch Stadium during the wettest June and second-wettest month the city has ever seen, and the trend washed into July as the Cardinals dropped a thrice rain-delayed 7-1 decision to the White Sox on a Wednesday night that dragged into Thursday morning.

Six of the last nine scheduled St. Louis home games have been affected in some way by Mother Nature, including a June 14 game against the Royals that was washed out completely and postponed to July 23.

All told, the team has endured seven hours and four minutes of rain delays in the stretch.

"It gets old," said Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds. "Real old. Both teams are dealing with the same stuff, though. You can't do anything about it."

Just two of 16 games at Busch Stadium were rain-delayed in May, which is typically a more rainy month than June in St. Louis. But for whatever reason, the floodgates have opened on the city in recent weeks and have affected John Lackey on multiple occasions.

The veteran righty endured the nearly two-hour belated start on Wednesday, and subsequent delays of 14 and 16 minutes, to throw seven innings for his fourth straight start of seven innings or more.

Lackey was supposed to start the postponed June 14 game and started the next day against Minnesota in a game that was delayed 20 minutes.

"We've had plenty of experience with rain, and everybody does know the routine," manager Mike Matheny said. "It is a challenge. John Lackey has dealt with it already this year, and has dealt with it throughout his career. He did a nice job."

The St. Louis relief staff came into the clubhouse during Wednesday's pregame delay, but remained in the bullpen during the two shorter delays.

"We try to keep ourselves entertained, somehow, [in the bullpen]," Carlos Villanueva said. "It was a long night tonight."

For the position players, Wednesday's shorter delays gave them just enough time to sit down in the clubhouse before it was time to head back out.

"The routine is not good," shortstop Jhonny Peralta said. "A lot of rain delays make you tired, being in here, sitting down waiting to start the game. It's tough for a lot of the guys, and more for the pitcher, too."

David Cobb is an associate reporter for
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