Rain postpones Cardinals-Royals I-70 finale

Lackey to start on Monday against Twins at Busch Stadium

Rain postpones Cardinals-Royals I-70 finale

ST. LOUIS -- With on and off thunderstorms having already prompted a delay of 2 hours, 45 minutes, the Cardinals and Royals announced a postponement of Sunday's I-70 Series finale.

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A makeup date has not been determined, though the clubs share mutual off-days on July 23 and Aug. 3. Given their schedules, July 23 seems the most likely date for a one-game meeting back at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he will push each of his starting pitchers back a day, meaning that John Lackey will now open a two-game home series against the Twins on Monday. He'll be followed, in order, by Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia and Tyler Lyons over the next week.

Lackey, as well as Royals starter Chris Young, headed toward their respective bullpens about 25 minutes before the scheduled first pitch of 1:15 p.m. CT to begin their warmups. Lackey played long toss on the outfield grass, but both pitchers were told not to start warming up off the mound because of an incoming storm.

The rain arrived just shortly after the scheduled start time. Lackey sat out the first rainstorm in the bullpen, then he retreated to the clubhouse before a second cell arrived.

"It's not a huge deal," Lackey said afterward. "It was almost just like playing catch today. I don't anticipate it being a problem [on Monday]."

Lackey much preferred this course of action than the one taken during his start against the Royals last month when the game was called after five-and-a-half innings due to rain in Kansas City. Lackey took the loss in that game.

Though the radar showed several spotty thunderstorms well to the west and southwest, the clubs thought they might have a window to play in early in the afternoon. That closed quickly, though, which led to the decision to delay and then, eventually postpone.

"They made a good call to hold on," said Matheny, who spent much of the rain delay responding to fan mail and monitoring the radar. "We could have gotten into the first inning and had a mess on our hands, and lost our starter. ... I know sometimes people are looking in the sky wondering why we are not out there playing, but this is one of those that this was the exact right thing to do."

Both clubs also remember well the five-hour, 32-minutes of rain delays they sat through before finishing a May 30, 2013, game at Busch Stadium the next day at 3:14 a.m. CT.

Unfortunately, the forecast isn't all that promising for the next two days either, as the Cardinals prepare to host the Twins for a brief two-game Interleague series. Scattered thunderstorms are expected to roll into the area both days.

"Usually this is the April stuff we're talking about," Matheny said. "We were able to dodge a lot of that and we're paying for it in June."

What's next: Lackey takes the mound on Monday against the Twins at 7:15 p.m. CT, followed by Michael Wacha on Tuesday. Lackey is coming off his roughest outing of the season, a 10-run, four-inning start at Colorado.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.