• After starting Peter Bourjos in center field for the first two games of the series, Matheny inserted Jon Jay into the lineup for Thursday's series finale. Jay is a career 7-for-25 against Reds starter Homer Bailey and enters the season carrying over a 14-game hitting streak.
• The Cardinals' top four Minor League affiliates begin their season on Thursday night, though three of MLB.com's Top 20 Cardinals prospects will not begin the year on one of those rosters. Left-hander Rob Kaminsky, ranked as the Cardinals' No. 4 overall prospect after being a first-round pick in 2013, will begin the year in extended spring training.
Jordan Swagerty (No. 13) and Tyrell Jenkins (No. 16) both continue to rehab from arm injuries. Jenkins, according to director of player development Gary LaRocque, is throwing long toss right now with an eye on a late May return. Swagerty, LaRocque said, is expected to begin his throwing program this week. He, too, is projected to begin his season in late May.
• Yadier Molina's has been the fourth-most popular jersey since the end of the 2013 postseason. Adam Wainwright came in at No. 17 on the top 20 list.