Moneyline: Cardinals (-180) Marlins (+170)
Runline: Marlins +1.5 (-135) Cardinals -1.5 (+115)
Starting Pitchers: Marlins (Vazquez) vs. Cardinals (Carpenter)
The Florida Marlins are the biggest surprise in the National League so far this season. The Marlins have gotten great starting pitching and timely hitting through the first month of the year. The Cardinals started the year off very slowly, but they are on a roll of late. This is a matchup of the NL East and NL Central Division leaders.
While the Marlins have gotten great starting pitcher overall, Javier Vazquez has not pitched well at all this year. Vazquez has an ERA of 6.39 this year, and he has only had one quality start. The Marlins defense has committed just twelve errors so far this year, which is sixth best in the majors. The most surprising part of the Marlins terrific season so far to me is that Hanley Ramirez hasn’t been contributing. There is little doubt that Ramirez is the best offensive weapon on this team, but he is hitting just .194 with one home run so far this year. The Marlins have had many contributors, and the team is hitting the ball extremely well with runners in scoring position.
Chris Carpenter has been one of the best starters in the National League over the last few years. The Cardinals are 50-17 in Carpenter’s last 67 home starts. St. Louis may have started the year slowly on the offensive side, but they are hitting the ball extremely well right now. In fact, the Cardinals now have the highest team batting average in the National League. In their last eight games, they have scored at least five runs seven times. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman are batting fourth and fifth in this lineup and both of them have been on an absolute tear. Holliday is currently hitting .409 and Berkman is hitting .402. Albert Pujols has actually been pretty quiet so far this year, but we know that can’t last too much longer.
Carpenter is a completely different pitcher at home, and I think the Cardinals will prove to be a better team than the Marlins over the course of this season. Vazquez has struggled all year, and I think that will continue in this game. I like the Cardinals -1.5 here.
MLB Free Pick: Cardinals -1.5
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