Game 3 Preview: Blue Jays vs. Cardinals, Chris Bassitt debut, starting lineups, more

Mar 17, 2023; Clearwater, Florida, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) and catcher
Mar 17, 2023; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) and catcher / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The first two games of the 2023 regular season have been two vastly different tales for the Toronto Blue Jays. After an offensive clinic was put on in Opening Day and winning 10-9, the Jays were no-hit through five innings in Saturday's game and eventually fell to the Cardinals in 4-1 fashion.

For Sunday's matchup in St. Louis, Chris Bassitt is set to make his regular season debut for the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old has long been known as one of the more disciplined starting pitchers in the league and if he's able to replicate his success from last year, he'll be a true weapon for his new club.

On the Cardinals, left-hander Jordan Montgomery will get the start. The 30-year-old came over to the Cardinals at last year's trade deadline in exchange for speedy outfielder Harrison Bader. In his first 11 starts on the Cards, Montgomery went 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA and a batting average againdt of just .232.

This will be the first southpaw starter the Blue Jays have faced this season. With all of the new left-hadned bats brought aboard during the offseason, there will be some uncomfortable lefty-on-lefty matchups, but this will also present an opportunity for some unused righties to get into the lineup like Santiago Espinal.

Toronto Blue Jays lineup vs. the Cardinals in Game 3

1. RF George Springer

2. SS Bo Bichette

3. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

4. CF Daulton Varsho

5. DH Alejandro Kirk

6. 3B Matt Chapman

7. LF Whit Merrifield

8. C Danny Jansen

9. 2B Santiago Espinal

Lineup changes from previous game: Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermaier, Cavan Biggio out; Alejandro Kirk, Santiago Espinal, Whit Merrifield in. Merrifield will get his first start in the outfield, Varsho gets first start in center field, Kirk will line up as the team's designated hitter for the first time this year.

St. Louis Cardinals lineup for series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays

1. 2B Brendan Donovan

2. LF Alec Burleson

3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt

4. 3B Nolan Arenado

5. C Willson Contreras

6. DH Nolan Gorman

7. RF Jordan Walker

8. CF Dylan Carlson

9. SS Tommy Edman

Willson Contreras returns to the lineup after taking the day off yesterday. He was hit in the knee pad by a 103mph fastball from Jordan Hicks in the season opener and needed a day off to recover (understandably so!). Outfielder Lars Nootbaar (jammed thumb) will get another day off so Dylan Carlson will start in center field in his place.