Florida Marlins vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview and Pick – Hendrickson vs. Volquez

Florida Marlins (23-15) Mark Hendrickson +150, 8.5 O/U at
Cincinnati Reds (16-23) Edinson Volquez -160, 8.5 O/U, Great
American Ball Park, 7:10 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of Predictem.com

If you would have told someone immediately after the Florida Marlins
traded away third baseman Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis
this off-season that they would be tied for the best record in the
National League on May 13th, you probably would have been asked to
take a drug test.

But thats exactly where the Marlins and the lowest payroll in all of
baseball are sitting right now, with a 23-15 mark and a two-and-a-
half game lead in the NL East.

The Marlins put their NL best record on the line Tuesday night in
game two of a three-game series against another big surprise this
season, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez.

Volquez has won five of his seven starts so far in 2008 (5-1) and leads the NL in ERA with a 1.06 mark. His last time out he held the
Cubs to four hits with 10 strikeouts in the Reds 9-0 victory
Wednesday. Not only has Volquez not allowed more than one earned run
in any of his seven starts so far, but he is also tied for second in
MLB with 52 strikeouts.

Volquez will lock horn with the Marlins tall lefty Mark Hendrickson,
who is also 5-1 this season with a 3.56 ERA. Hendrickson will be
looking to win his sixth straight decision and the Marlins are 6-2 as
a team in the games he has started so far in 2008.

The early line at most sportsbooks have the Reds and Volquez as a strong -160 chalk on the moneyline, with Florida listed as +150
underdogs. The over/under total in the hitter-friendly Great American
Ball Park is listed at 8.5.

Volquez will have to face one of the hottest lineups in baseball
right now. The Marlins had won seven straight before dropping the
series opener last night, 8-7.

Their surge up the standings can be tied directly to the surge of
second baseman Dan Uggla at the dish, as he has four homeruns and
eight RBIs in his last three games. Uggla is hitting .461 (12-for-26)
with 14 runs, 6 HRs and 12 RBIs during the win streak and including
last nights series opener.

The Reds have alternated wins and losses their last eight games,
going 4-4 during the stretch, but they are still sitting in the
cellar of the NL Central. The Reds will hope to build off of last
nights victory by getting Ken Griffey Jr. going at the plate.
Griffey, who hasnt homered since April 23rd, is 5-for-8 with a
homerun versus Hendrickson in his career.

There are several betting trends to watch for in this game.

We already know the Reds have alternated wins and losses for eight
straight, but the over is 6-2 in their last eight following a win as
well. On the flip side, Florida is 6-2 in their last eight games
following a loss.

The over has traditionally been a strong play with these two teams on
the field, as it has cashed in seven of the last eight head-to-head
meetings between the two.

And heres a trend you can chalk up as a head-scratcher. The under is
7-3-2 in Cincinnatis last 12 home games at Great American Ball Park,
the park known for its short porches and homerun-friendly confines.
Go figure that. The Park is so cozy that no lead is ever considered
safe, including the Reds 8-4 lead that they almost blew last night.

Badgers Pick: Volquez is a great story so far this season, one that
I see continuing tonight. Plus, tonights home plate umpire Mike
Dimuro is a pitcher-friendly ump that is ironically 8-0 for the home
team in his eight games behind the dish. Take the Reds at the steep
price of -160 if you have the bankroll to afford it.