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April 2 St. Louis Cardinals game notes

Mother Nature may not cooperate as the St. Louis Cardinals try to play their second game of the season in Cincinnati against the Reds.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight in the Cincinnati area.

If the Redbirds do take the field, the game will feature two of the most exciting young starting pitchers in the game. Michael Wacha is expected to take the hill against Reds starter Tony Cingrani.

Wacha, 4-1 in 2013 with a 2.78 ERA in 15 appearances including nine starts. He was 2-0 on the road with a 4.34 ERA on the road. He has no win-loss record against the Reds, allowing six hits in 10 innings of work. He struck out 10 and walked three.

Cingrani is 3-3 at the Great American Ballpark over the course of his brief career with a 3.02 ERA compared to a 4-1 mark on the road with a 2.76 ERA. The lefty is 2-0 against the Cardinals with a 4.09 ERA.

This will be the first southpaw starter the new look Cardinals will face this season. But they'll have to do it without right-handed hitting second baseman Mark Ellis who is on the disabled list with a knee injury. The Cardinals might choose to go with Pete Kozma at second for a favorable lefty-righty match-up early in the game, especially since Cincinnati lefty closer Aroldis Chapman is out of action after being hit in the head with a line drive during spring training. Starting second sacker Kolten Wong, a lefty, could be used later in the game potentially against a righty reliever.

Kozma, however, isn't known for his bat. And, while he hits .244 against righties, he's even worse against lefties with a .205 average for his career. In 2013 he was even worse with a .184 average in 125 at-bats.

The decision who starts could come down to manager Mike Matheny's thoughts on if it is important to protect Wong from a tough lefty — or if he'd prefer to see Wong get some reps in against a southpaw.

Monday's debut was the highest-rated Cardinals road opener in history with Fox Sports Midwest scoring an 11.1 household rating of the St. Louis television market, according to Neilsen Media Research. At the peak of viewership, 179,000 area televisions were tuned into the game. Viewership was up eight percent over the Redbirds road opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013. 

The Cardinals were 11-8 against Cincinnati last season.