On the last day before the All-Star break, Cardinals rookie Joe Kelly will face off against the Marlins' Anibal Sanchez, the same pair that started Miami's 5-3 win on June 27 at Marlins Park. St. Louis is looking for a series win after beating Miami, 3-2, on Saturday.
Kelly, a 24-year-old right-hander, is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts, giving the Cardinals a boost since Jaime Garcia joined Chris Carpenter on the disabled list. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any of his outings.
"He's got that confidence on the mound," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been in some tight spots and he's pitched. He's kept his mouth shut and done a lot of listening and gone about it the right way as a young pitcher should do, especially on a staff like this."
Kelly made one mistake in his six innings on Tuesday against the Rockies, and Tyler Colvin turned it into a three-run homer. Kelly's previous start came in Miami, when he held the Marlins to two runs on five hits in six innings but took a no-decision.
In that game, Sanchez (4-6, 4.19 ERA) gave up three runs in seven innings for the win. Otherwise, the righty has been locked in a rough patch of late, with a 7.34 ERA and a .326 opponent batting average over his last six starts.
On Sunday, Sanchez will be without the support of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, as the Marlins' lineup continues to be in a state of flux. Stanton started for the first time in five games on Saturday and singled in his first at-bat, but then left the contest after two innings.
The Marlins announced afterward that Stanton is scheduled to have surgery on his problematic right knee on Sunday morning in Miami, keeping him out of action for the All-Star Game, the Home Run Derby and likely four to six weeks. That means plenty more lineup-related headaches for manager Ozzie Guillen.
"The worst thing about managing is when you change lineups every day," Guillen said. "When you're changing lineups, it's like, 'Oh boy, who's going to be up, who is going to be down?' That's the most difficult part for the manager. Because at the end of the day, the baseball gods are going to put that worst guy in that spot to hit. You keep moving people around, at some point, they will find that hitter."
Marlins: Bonifacio on his way
One factor that could improve Miami's lineup stability is the impending return of center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who has been out since May 18 due to a sprained left thumb that required surgery.
Bonifacio, with a .351 on-base percentage and 20 stolen bases, went 1-for-2 with two walks and a steal in his third rehab game for Class A Jupiter on Friday. He is expected to come back right after the All-Star break.
"Hopefully, I can keep the same lineup in the second half," Guillen said. "Now, I'll have Boni back. I think the lineup is going to be stronger. Our bench is going to be stronger, too."
Donovan Solano started in place of Omar Infante at second base on Saturday, and Guillen said he is leaning toward putting Solano back in the lineup on Sunday, providing either shortstop Jose Reyes or third baseman Hanley Ramirez with a day off.
Cardinals: Handling the heat
The temperature in St. Louis for Sunday's game is supposed to be about 95 degrees, which actually constitutes a significant improvement over recent days.
Busch Stadium was a toasty 106 degrees for Saturday's first pitch, the fourth straight game there that started over 100 degrees. But according to Matheny, many Cardinals still have wanted to hit outside, while the Marlins chose to take batting practice indoors on Friday and Saturday.
"I think at some point, probably not far in the near future, it'll probably be a benefit for us," Matheny said. "People are going to roll in here not quite adjusted to it. Doesn't seem to be bothering them. The starters have responded well. I think that's a tribute to the work they're doing in the weight room and what they're doing in between starts."
With catcher Yadier Molina on the bereavement list, Tony Cruz has played the past two games behind the plate. But considering the weather, Cruz could give way on Sunday to Bryan Anderson, who was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Anderson hasn't played in a big league game since 2010, and was hitting .210 at Memphis this season.
Cardinals outfielders Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday have excelled against Sanchez. Beltran is 7-for-18 (.389) with a home run, while Holiday is 7-for-14 (.500) with two homers and a double.
Sanchez sports a 2.96 ERA in his seven road starts this season, compared with a 5.20 mark in his nine home outings.