Florida Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals meet on Wednesday Night to open a new stadium and a new season. The Marlins are -180 favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under run total set at 7.
The Miami Marlins vowed to win the World Series a year ago instead they had one of the worst home records in all of baseball and finished near the bottom of the National League East. 2012 begins with a lot of hope and a lot of new things and faces as the Marlins get a new name, Miami instead of Florida, a new Manager in Ozzie Guillen and a host of new players. While not a new player Miami sees the return of Josh Johnson who has a historic rate of strikeouts to batters faced and innings pitched but whose season was cut short last year due to injury. If Johnson returns to form it can provide a lot to a Marlins staff which adds Mark Beuhrle and Carlos Zambrano, both pitchers who have been number one’s before and moves them back into the rotation and Miami also picked up Heath Bell to close which moves Juan Oviedo, aka Leo Nunez, to one of the better set up men in the game. Miami added Jose Reyes, one of the prizes of this season’s free agent class and moves Hanley Ramirez to third base. Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, and Emilio Bonifacio are all other players to watch but what we are looking for here is the health of Johnson, whether or not the new stadium means the Marlins can win at home now, and if bringing in Guillen and the new players means they can compete with Philadelphia, Atlanta, and an up and coming Washington in the NL East.
The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year as the Wild Card team from the National League and immediately following that they saw some of the biggest changes of anyone. Manager Tony LaRussa retired and Mike Metheny was hired to replace him but on the field Albert Pujols, the face of the organization, let in free agency to the Angels. While it’s tough lose the best player in baseball and get better but that’s what many believe happened this offseason in St. Louis. While Kyle Lohse gets the start in this one because it’s a just a one game series, the Cards get Adam Wainwright back in the rotation who is arguably their best pitcher and a Cy Young contender. Lance Berkman, David Freese, and Matt Holliday all return while Carlos Beltran was brought into try and be part of what St. Louis hopes is a team of players that makes up for Pujols’missing numbers. The NL Central figures to be competitive once again but with an extra playoff spot St. Louis is liking their chances.
Miami is 4-9 in their last 13 games against the NL Central, 18-38 in their last 56 home games, and 29-10 in Johnson’s last 39 home starts. St. Louis is 16-7 in their last 23 road games, 12-4 in their last 16 road games against a right handed starter, and 9-4 in Lohse’s last 13 starts. St. Louis has won the last five meetings of these two and are 20-7 in their last 27 games in South Florida.
This is a tough one to call as far as a total because we have no idea how the ball is going to carry in the new Stadium but with these pitchers we can say it probably isn’t going to carry much and I look for a low scoring game and for it to come in under the total.