St. Louis Cardinals (1-1) at Cincinnati Reds (3-0), 7:10 p.m. (ET)

( – While John Lackey is set to begin his first full season
with the St. Louis Cardinals, Jason Marquis is just happy to be back on a
major league mound.

Marquis will make his first appearance in the majors since 2013 on Friday
night when the Cincinnati Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a
three-game series.

The 36-year-old Marquis made 20 starts with the San Diego Padres two seasons
ago, the last coming on July 19, 2013. He eventually underwent Tommy John
surgery and did not pitch in the majors a season ago, making nine minor league
starts with the Philadelphia Phillies will getting his arm back into shape.

Marquis then won a spot in the Reds’ rotation by going an impressive 3-1 in
seven spring starts with a 2.90 earned run average, striking out 17 to 10
walks and yielding only one homer.

“The ball is coming out of my hand in a way it hasn’t the last five years,”
Marquis told in late March of his return from surgery. “I’ve gotten
some velocity back, but that’s not the big thing. There’s just more life on
the ball.

“I’m throwing the ball instead of pushing it, guiding it. I think maybe I
developed bad habits over those years to protect the elbow so I can pitch.
More than anything, that’s what I’m happiest with.”

The right-hander went 42-37 with a 4.60 ERA in three seasons with the
Cardinals from 2004-06 and is 6-3 against them with a 4.15 ERA in 11 games (9

The Cardinals counter with the 36-year-old Lackey, who was acquired last July
31 from the Boston Red Sox for infielder Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly.
The righty was 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts at the time of the trade and
then went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts with St. Louis. Lackey also split a
pair of postseason starts, giving up five runs over 13 innings.

St. Louis later picked up Lackey’s 2015 option, one that will pay him only
$500,000 due to a clause in the five-year deal he signed with Boston in 2009
that stated the option would be at the league minimum if he missed extended
time during the deal.

Lackey was shelved for the entire 2012 season following Tommy John surgery.

He is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four previous starts against the Reds.

St. Louis returns to action after an off day having split a weather-shortened
two-game set with the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals won the opener on Sunday
3-0, and after Tuesday’s contest was postponed, lost Wednesday’s finale 2-0.

Lance Lynn retired the first 10 batters he faced and had permitted only two
base runners before running into trouble in the seventh, when he was charged
with both Cubs runs without recording an out. He also struck out nine in the
hard-luck defeat to Chicago hurler Jake Arrieta and his seven scoreless
innings of work.

“I think you just saw two very good pitchers throwing today, not making too
many mistakes,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “And when there were, the
opposition was able to capitalize.”

St. Louis’ 1-2-3 hitters of Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday
combined for seven hits, three RBI and two runs scored in Monday’s win, but
the trio went 1-for-11 on Wednesday.

The Reds off are to a fast start this season, finishing off a three-game sweep
of the Pittsburgh Pirates with Thursday’s 3-2 walk-off win.

Todd Frazier led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and moved to third
on a ground out. He was then able to score the winning run on an error by
Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco, who failed to catch Marlon Byrd’s waste-
high liner.

“It’s very exciting to get a sweep these first three games,” said Frazier. “We
just have to keep on rolling, riding that wave. I know it’s early, but early
counts too.”

Joey Votto, who had a walk-off, extra-inning hit to win the second game of
this series, had a game-tying homer in the sixth inning an Aroldis Chapman
picked up the win in relief.

The Cardinals were 12-7 versus the Reds last season, splitting 10 meetings in