Thanks to some frigid weather in Chicago, this Friday's series opener in St. Louis between the Cardinals and Brewers is suddenly a lot more interesting.
Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse, originally expected to pitch in Wednesday's series finale against the Cubs and therefore miss the weekend series against his former club, will instead take the rubber against St. Louis at Busch Stadium following Wednesday's postponement due to inclement weather.
Following an off-day for each team, Lohse will go for his first win as a Brewer as he squares off against the same St. Louis team with which he spent the past five seasons. Lohse went 55-35 with a 3.90 ERA in 137 games with the Cardinals, including a 16-3 mark with a 2.86 ERA last season. The right-hander signed with the Brewers as a free agent back in March.
Because of the Wrigley washout, Lohse will be pitching a charged game on two extra days of rest.
"As long as these guys have played, they know things like this happen," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Fortunately, where we play in our stadium, we don't ever have to worry about that. But other places, it goes on all the time."
At 34, Lohse has been around. But Roenicke still planned to chat with him about facing his former team at his former home park.
"I'll probably stop by and say something," Roenicke said with a smile.
Lohse will return to Busch Stadium, where he is 30-17 lifetime with a 3.40 ERA in 73 career starts. Taking the mound for St. Louis will be 22-year-old right-hander Shelby Miller, who represents one of the main reasons the Cardinals felt comfortable letting Lohse depart after last season.
Miller, the franchise's top-ranked pitching prospect entering this season according to MLB.com, battled his way into the rotation in Spring Training, emerging as the club's No. 5 starter. He wasted no time picking up his first win of the season, allowing just two runs over 5 1/3 innings Saturday against the Giants in his second career start.
Miller's only other career start came in the last of his six appearances last season, when he tossed six one-hit shutout innings against the Reds at Busch Stadium.
"I just think he's radically changed," manager Mike Matheny said. "He knew that there were some things he was doing early on keeping him from getting here, and he changed and he was rewarded. And then he said, 'This is who I need to be.' It was a transformation."
Yet the biggest transformation on Friday may be Cardinals fans adjusting to Lohse's new uniform.
Brewers: Top three starters set to face rival Cards
With Wednesday's postponement pushing Lohse's start back to Friday, the Brewers will now send their top three starters to the mound for the weekend series in St. Louis.
Following Lohse's turn on Friday, Milwaukee will call on Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo for Saturday's contest and Marco Estrada for Sunday's series finale. Estrada is coming off his first win of the season Monday against the Cubs, while Gallardo will be looking to pick up his first after not registering a decision in his first two outings.
Cardinals: Friday's game dedicated to Stan Musial
• The Cardinals announced earlier this week that Friday's game will be dedicated to honoring Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who died in January at the age of 92.
After kicking off the homestand with a video tribute to Musial and unveiling a No. 6 decal on the wall in left-center field, the Cardinals will continue to honor the legend on Friday in a pregame ceremony. Members of Musial's family will participate in the pregame event, which will include a plaque dedication in Musial's honor and conclude with the family members throwing out ceremonial first pitches.
Rawlings has also manufactured game balls stamped with a special Musial logo that will be used throughout Friday's game.
• After receiving a day off in Wednesday's series finale against the Reds, Allen Craig is expected to return to the starting lineup in Friday's series opener. Craig, replaced in the lineup Wednesday by first baseman Matt Adams, had started six games at first base and one each in left and right field before receiving the day off.
In his eight starts this season, Craig is hitting .229 (8-for-35) with three doubles and five RBIs.
• Lohse's last start as an opponent at Busch Stadium came on June 7, 2007, when he allowed just one run over 8 1/3 innings to lead the Reds to a 5-1 victory.
• Lohse is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in five career starts against the Cardinals.