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Lohse gets the nod in opener redo

Lohse gets the nod in opener redo

On the day he signed, Kyle Lohse appeared to be the Cardinals' No. 2 starter. Within a couple of weeks, he had been bumped back to starting the sixth game of the season. Now he's pitching Opening Day.

The original Monday opener between the Cardinals and Rockies was washed out due to storms in downtown St. Louis, so the last two National League champions will try again on Tuesday.

That means that rather than waiting until Sunday, Lohse will make his Cardinals debut five days earlier. Because he signed late in the spring, the Cards had intended to give him one more tuneup, a simulated game against Minor League hitters on Tuesday. Instead, he'll go against the Rockies.

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"It's Lohse's turn to pitch," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's just good fortune that he's ready to pitch a game that day. So we might as well take advantage of that. He's already demonstrated that he can throw as many pitches as anybody in our rotation. He's in good shape."

Lohse hopes to turn promise into performance in St. Louis, much like Rockies starter Kip Wells tried to do a year earlier. Like Wells, Lohse has long been recognized for having excellent stuff, but his start-to-start results haven't always reflected his ability.

Wells' tenure in St. Louis was an unsuccessful one, but hopes are high for Lohse.

"He's got good stuff -- great stuff," said Troy Glaus, who saw a good bit of the right-hander when both were in the American League. "Always has. If he keeps the ball down and works ahead -- I mean, that pretty much goes for everybody, but him, too. If he keeps the ball down and works ahead, he's got stuff to put you away, and he's got stuff to blow up some bats and strike people out."

Lohse made two Grapefruit League starts for the Cardinals and pitched very well. He allowed two runs over 10 innings, striking out seven and walking two.

"I know what he brings," said Adam Wainwright, who started the washed-out Monday game. "He beat me twice last year. He's got a repertoire. He's going to throw four or five pitches, and he's going to throw 'em for strikes. I look forward to him attacking hitters and really throwing a lot of innings."

Pitching matchup
STL: RHP Kyle Lohse (9-12, 4.62 in 2007)
Lohse's long winter of uncertainty came to an end when he hooked on with the Cardinals, and the club is delighted to have him. While the early projections for his payday were fairly outlandish, Lohse has been a useful pitcher for most of his career. And most of all, he takes the ball -- he has four seasons of at least 180 innings and five years with 30 or more starts.

COL: RHP Kip Wells (7-17, 5.70 ERA)
Wells signed a $3.1 million deal with the Rockies this winter and hoped to make the starting rotation, but his inefficiency early in camp led the club to put him in long relief. Wells disagreed with the decision, but pitched better in his last two spring appearances, as the Rockies prepared him for bullpen work. Now, however, he gets a chance to do what he wanted all along -- and against the team he pitched for last season.

Tidbits
Troy Glaus is 4-for-8 against Wells with three extra-base hits. ... Aaron Miles is 9-for-12 with five doubles in three career official Opening Day appearances. ... Albert Pujols has four home runs off Wells in 31 at-bats. ... Lohse has a 3.50 lifetime ERA in three starts against the Rockies. ... Yadier Molina has hit .185 in his career in April. ... Rick Ankiel hit .319 and slugged .691 at Busch Stadium last year.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN-HD

On radio
• KTRS 550

Up next
• Wednesday: Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 0-0, -.--) vs. Rockies (Aaron Cook, 0-0, -.--), 7:15 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Cardinals (Brad Thompson, 0-0, -.--) vs. Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 0-0, -.--), 12:15 p.m. CT
• Friday: Cardinals (Braden Looper, 0-0, -.--) vs. Nationals (Odalis Perez, 0-0, 1.80), 7:15 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 0-0, -.--) vs. Nationals (Matt Chico, 0-0, 5.06), 12:10 p.m. CT

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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