On Tuesday night at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals and Rays will open their second series of the season much like they did their first.
St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright will square off against Tampa Bay rookie Jake Odorizzi -- who grew up close to St. Louis in Highland, Ill. -- just as they did on June 10 at Tropicana Field.
That game was a pitchers' duel, with Wainwright throwing seven scoreless innings to beat Odorizzi, 1-0, although the Rays' right-hander threw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
Tuesday's start will be Wainwright's first since pitching an inning in the All-Star Game -- his last start of the first half was July 12. The Cardinals opted not to pitch him in the first series out of the break so that they could get the righty some additional rest.
"I think they're just being real cautious of making sure that I'm going to be prepared to go the rest, because this is going to be a pretty torrid race through the end of the season," Wainwright said of his extra rest. "I think they're mindful of that and they need me to be out there every fifth day. I don't need to be skipping starts. I feel very good, so I don't think I would have done that anyway."
Wainwright dominated the Rays last month despite pitching with extreme pain in his right forearm. It was enough discomfort that Wainwright skipped his next start. He recently said he hasn't had any arm issues since.
Dating back to early June, one start before the one in St. Petersburg, Wainwright has thrown seven or more innings and allowed no more than two runs in each of his last seven outings. In that time, he's allowed a total of six runs in 52 2/3 innings for a 1.03 ERA.
He'll be facing a Rays team that is coming off a three-game sweep of the Twins in Minnesota.
Like Wainwright, Odorizzi also has been pitching his best baseball of the season since his first start against the Cardinals. On Tuesday, though, he'll get to do something he hasn't done since high school -- hit.
"Maybe [Wainwright will] pipe him one," Odorizzi's teammate Chris Archer joked, referencing Wainwright's comments about facing Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game. "He might pipe him one, you never know."
Cardinals: Back in familiar territory
The wins haven't come as easily as they did in the Cardinals' 97-win 2013 campaign, but as the July 31 Trade Deadline nears, the Cardinals still find themselves right where most analysts predicted them to be -- atop the National League Central.
St. Louis has won seven of its last 10 games and is tied with Milwaukee. The Cardinals have caught the Brewers after spending much of the season chasing them, but with the Pirates 1 1/2 games back and the Reds 2 1/2 back, manager Mike Matheny is already in playoff mode.
"There is no time to take a breath. Fortunately, we have a day off [Monday] and we'll take a breath then. But we have to keep the throttle down every single day."
Rays: Longoria sets franchise double record, ties RBI mark
Evan Longoria claimed a piece of the Rays' record book on Sunday when he passed former Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford for the club's doubles record with 216 and tied Crawford's career RBI mark at 592.
Longoria led off the third inning of Sunday's game against the Twins at Target Field by hitting an 0-2 pitch from Kevin Correia into the left-field corner for a double. That tied Crawford.
Longoria added an RBI double in the sixth off right-hander Samuel Deduno to set the career doubles mark, and the RBI pulled him into a tie with Crawford.
Crawford played for the Rays from 2002-10. Longoria arrived to the Rays in 2008. Ben Zobrist, who's been with the Rays since 2006, is close behind with 214 doubles.
• Second baseman Kolten Wong is likely to be back in the St. Louis lineup after sitting on Sunday. He sat for matchup reasons, as the Cardinals were facing a tough lefty in Clayton Kershaw.
• Rays pitchers are on pace for 1,409 strikeouts this season, which would rank second in Major League history to the 2013 Tigers (1,428). The club record is 1,383 in 2012, which ranks fifth in Major League history.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.