The Cardinals were leading 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning when the rains came at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The game will restart as the front end of a day-night doubleheader
Lars Nootbaar homered for the Cardinals and starting pitcher Miles Mikolas pitched three perfect innings. Nationals starting pitcher Trevor Williams worked 2 2/3 innings before the game was stopped with a runner at first base and a 3-2 count on Paul Goldschmidt
In the nightcap, Steven Matz (0-7, 4.65 ERA) will continue his bid to re-establish himself in the Cardinals' rotation when he gets his second straight start
After going 0-6 with a 5.72 ERA and a .324 batting average against in his first 10 starts, Matz was relegated to the bullpen. He then produced a 2.81 ERA and a .224 batting average against in eight relief appearances.
"These past few times coming out of the bullpen, I felt like I was pitching a little bit more with an edge," Matz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That was something Julio (Rangel), the bullpen coach, said. He was like, 'Hey, that's you right there.' Being aggressive, pitching with an edge, I think it plays well to me and adds to my conviction."
Matz returned to the rotation and allowed just one unearned run while striking out nine batters and walking none in 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox in Chicago on Sunday. The Cardinals eventually won that game 4-3 in 10 innings
"Average fastball was 95 (mph) -- not 93 -- and that's a big deal," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. "He got a ton of swing and miss on the sinker. He got a ton of swing and miss on the changeup. He ended up with nine punchouts. That's real. That's good swing-and-miss stuff. Especially when the 'velo' is there, it opens up the changeup.
In the second game on Saturday, the Nationals will start Jake Irvin (2-5, 4.60 ERA), who earned a victory in his latest start. He allowed two runs on five hits in five innings as Washington defeated the Texas Rangers 8-3 on July 8
Irvin persevered through a 77-minute rain delay in that one.
"Just trying to keep the legs loose, the arm loose, do whatever you can to keep the body feeling good," Irvin said. "Mentally, you stay prepared like you're just in a really, really long inning. I don't know how to explain it other than that."
Irvin will be opposing St. Louis for the first time in his rookie season.
The Nationals may be without third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who sustained a bone bruise in his thumb during drills before the Friday game. The pain intensified when he swung the bat in the first inning, and he exited the contest. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday
The Nationals also adjusted their pitching staff ahead of the series, putting left-hander Patrick Corbin on paternity leave and recalling right-hander Paolo Espino from Triple-A Rochester
The Cardinals might activate catcher Andrew Knizner on Saturday. He has been out since being hit in the groin by a foul ball on July 4
--Field Level Media