The turnaround will be quick for both the Cardinals and Reds, who played until 12:45 a.m. ET on Thursday after waiting through a two-hour and 40-minute rain delay prior to the start of Wednesday's contest. The series finale is scheduled to begin at 12:35 p.m., though the weather forecast shows thunderstorms hovering over Cincinnati for much of the day.
If there is a clearing, the Cardinals will seek a series win behind Lance Lynn, the National League's winningest pitcher over the last two seasons. Only Adam Wainwright, who shut out the Reds on Monday, has matched Lynn's 33 wins over the last two seasons. Three of those wins came against Cincinnati in 2012; Lynn faced the Reds just once -- and received a no-decision -- last season.
Now, he's set to see them in his first two starts of 2014. That's because the Reds travel to St. Louis for a three-game series next week.
"You have to play them all eventually, so why not start off with them?" Lynn said. "The first 15 [games] are against teams in the [National League Central] Division. It would be nice to come out hot."
Behind right-hander Homer Bailey, the Reds will try to slow down the Cardinals -- and get their offense going -- in order to secure a series win at home. This will be Bailey's first start since signing a six-year, $105 million contract in February.
Bailey was slowed by a right groin strain during Spring Training, but threw five innings (76 pitches) in a Minor League game on March 24 and then followed that up with a three-inning outing on Saturday against the organization's Triple-A Louisville. He allowed one run on one hit and two walks in that final spring tuneup.
Asked on Wednesday if Bailey looked to be clear of any lingering effects from the injury, Reds manager Bryan Price said, "We think so."
"We took him out slightly early in that game in Louisville just because it was cold, it was wet and he got his work in," Price added. "It kind of served its purpose. At this point in time, we haven't had a recurrence. We're confident that we won't."
Cardinals: Shuffle in the second spot
After hitting Jhonny Peralta second on Wednesday, the Cardinals are likely to move Kolten Wong back into the No. 2 hole for Thursday's series finale. Why the back and forth? Matchups, manager Mike Matheny has said.
Expect to see Wong batting behind Matt Carpenter in games where the Cardinals are opposed by a right-handed starter. Against a lefty, it'll likely be Peralta's spot. Matheny sees that spot, in particular, as fluid.
"We'll put people in there and if it's working, we'll stay with it," Matheny said. "If not, we'll try some different things. I like how Kolten is going about his at-bats. He's swinging the bat well. He seems like he has a real nice approach. And while that's going on, he fits well there."
Batting second on Monday, Wong went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Reds: First start for Barnhart
Catcher Tucker Barnhart is expected to get his first start in the big leagues on Thursday when he catches Bailey. Barnhart, who spent all of last season at Double-A Louisville, made the Reds at the end of camp when regular catcher Devin Mesoraco went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
"Going through Opening Day, just all the festivities and everything, was definitely a dream come true. But getting to go out there and actually going out on the field is going to be awesome," Barnhart said.
The 23-year-old Barnhart, who is ranked No. 12 by MLBPipeline.com among 2014 Reds prospects, hails from Brownsburg, Ind., outside of Indianapolis and about a two-hour drive from Cincinnati. He is expecting to have a large contingent of family and friends come see him play. Coincidentally, he'll be facing another Brownsburg native in Lynn.
• Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist will enter Thursday with a 25 1/3-inning scoreless streak, the longest such streak in the Majors. Siegrist did not allow a run in his final 16 regular-season appearances in 2013.
• With such a brief break between the final two games of this series, Matheny may find an opportunity to get Jon Jay his first start of the season on Thursday. The left-handed hitting Jay is 7-for-25 against Bailey in his career. Jay has yet to take an at-bat this season.
• Reds reliever Sean Marshall threw live batting practice in Goodyear, Ariz., on Tuesday and came out OK.
• The Reds' Mat Latos is scheduled to start on Thursday for Double-A Pensacola and work five innings in a rehab assignment. His catcher will be Mesoraco, who is also starting his rehab assignment.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.