MLB Baseball Predictions & Odds: St Louis Cardinals vs Miami Marlins
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
by Joe Rodriguez
The story of last October, the St Louis Cardinals open defense of their improbable World Series title against the most active team this offseason.
The re-vamped Miami Marlins debut a new first name for the franchise Miami, a new stadium Marlins Park, a new shortstop Jose Reyes, a new manager Ozzie Guillen , and even a new first name for their right fielder it’s now Giancarlo, not Mike, Stanton.
Most of all, the Marlins feature a new attitude, one that has Florida believing it can contend in the NL East. St. Louis also turns the page on the past, after Albert Pujols signed with the Angels in the offseason and new manager Mike Matheny takes over for the retired Tony LaRussa.
Lance Berkman, who experienced a resurgent season in right field at age 35 in 2011, takes over at first base for St. Louis after hitting .301 with 31 homers. For the second spring in a row, a St. Louis ace is hurting. Adam Wainwright is back after missing last season with Tommy John surgery, but the Cardinals have shut down Chris Carpenter with a bulging disk in his neck. Florida counts on Reyes to anchor a much-improved offensive lineup with Hanley Ramirez (shifting from short to third) and Stanton, who has 56 career home runs in just 250 games.
With Carpenter out, Lohse will have to pick up the slack. The right-hander set career-best marks in ERA and WHIP (1.17), making 30 starts. Lohse lost twice with a 7.82 ERA in the postseason, and gave up eight runs on nine hits in 13 innings against the Marlins last season. Johnson endured injury woes in 2011, making just nine starts before missing the rest of the season with right shoulder inflammation. The right-hander made six strong starts in spring training, striking out 24 in 22 1/3 innings while hitting 96 mph with his fastball.
1. Stanton missed most of spring training with injuries to his left wrist and left knee.
2. The Cardinals open defense of their title with a three-city, seven-game road trip. After the season opener against the Marlins, St. Louis plays three at Milwaukee and three at Cincinnati before its home opener April 13 against the Cubs.
3. Marlins Park features a retractable roof, which should prevent the nearly daily South Florida rain showers from delaying games this season. The roof can be closed in 12-to-14 minutes.
MLB BASEBALL PREDICTION: Miami 6, St Louis 2
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