Money Line: St. Louis +160 Miami -170
Total Line: 7
The 2011World Champion St. Louis Cardinals take center stage this Wednesday night when they open the defense of their title against the new-look Miami Marlins at the brand new Marlins Park. This game is slated to get underway at 7:05 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
St. Louis comes into this game and into this season with a gaping hole in the line-up with the departure of free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, but remains confident that with players such as Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina still in place, it will be able to fill the void.
Chris Carpenter went on the DL with a shoulder injury, so Kyle Lohse will get the start in his place. The right hander is coming off one of the best years in his career with a team-best 3.39 ERA among starters and a 14-8 record in 30 starts. He has a 5.85 ERA and 2-2 record against the Marlins in 32.1 innings pitched.
It is a brand new start in South Florida with a new ballpark, new uniforms, new team name, and a new manager in Ozzie Guillen, who comes to Miami after a recent stint with the Chicago White Sox. Also new to the team are shortstop Jose Reyes, starter Mark Buehrle, and closer Heath Bell, who were all brought in to turn things around from last season’s dismal 72-90 campaign.
The Marlins will go with Josh Johnson as their opening-day starter. He is coming off shoulder surgery that shut him down for much of the 2011 season, but he still had a 3-1 record and 1.64 ERA in nine starts last year. Lifetime against the Cardinals he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 35 innings pitched.
St. Louis got the best of this series last season with a 6-2 record in eight games including a four-game sweep in their only visit to Florida. The total went ‘over’ in six of the eight games. Lohse was instrumental in securing one of those road victories in a 7-4 win with the Cardinals closing as 109 favorites.
The Marlins will look to ride the wave of support from the reenergized home-town crowd, but it will not be enough to start the season with a win. The Free MLB Pick: St. Louis 4 Miami 2