The Opening Day start technically won't be a first for Lohse, as he did pitch the Cardinals' first game of the 2008 season. There was a catch to that, though. What turned out to be the '08 opener was only designated as such because the scheduled opener, which Wainwright started, ended up postponed due to rain.
Though the Cardinals had held out hope that Carpenter would be ready to go for in Miami, Lohse has known for a while now that he was the backup plan. With the schedule that he's on, Lohse could make two more spring starts on regular rest and line up perfectly for Opening Day.
"It is an honor. But at the same time, Carp or Waino could be the ones out there doing it," said Lohse, who led the staff in wins and ERA last season. "I wish it was in a different circumstance, but I'll be ready to get it going. That's not really going to change my approach or anything. It's Opening Day, but it counts as much as the hopefully 33, 34 other starts that I get."
Lohse will be followed in the rotation by Jake Westbrook, Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn, in some order. Matheny has not yet announced that order.
From the start, the Cardinals have had Wainwright's schedule laid out so that he would pitch the season's first game at Busch Stadium. It is an honor that Matheny wanted Wainwright to enjoy after having to miss all of the 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"I think part of it is a reward for him," Matheny said. "Opening Day is special in St. Louis. I think it's a reward to our fan base. It's a big deal for them, and to see Adam after all that he's meant to the organization be the guy that gets that nod on Opening Day at home, I think it's a big deal for everybody."