Defending Champ Cards Open Against Depleted Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) — No waiting for one of the NL Central’s longstanding rivalries to resume.

The defending NL champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds open the season against each other on Monday for only the second time in the last 20 years.

The Cardinals won the season series 11-8 last year and held off the Reds, who had to settle for a wild card. They lost the one-game playoff in Pittsburgh and fired manager Dusty Baker.

The Cardinals are stocked for another title run. The Reds open the season with eight players on the disabled list, including starter Mat Latos, closer Aroldis Chapman and catcher Devin Mesoraco.

Adam Wainwright, who won 19 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting last season, faces Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.

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