St. Louis Cardinals vs. Florida Marlins Preview and Pick

St. Louis Cardinals (31-27) Chris Carpenter -115, 7 O/U at
Florida Marlins (28-31) Josh Johnson +105, 7 O/U, LandShark
Stadium, Miami, Florida, 7:10 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of

A pair of tall, strike-throwing staff aces will duel on the mound
Tuesday night at the newly named LandShark Stadium in Miami when the
St. Louis Cardinals and Chris Carpenter open a three-game series
against the Florida Marlins and young righty Josh Johnson.

The 6-foot-6 Carpenter will try and stop the Cardinals four-game
losing streak tonight, the longest slide the Cards have had this
season. St. Louis enters the series still licking their wounds from
an embarrassing four-game sweep at home to Colorado where the Rockies
outscored the Cards by a whopping 33-to-9 margin. Prior to the
Rockies sweep, the Cards split a four-game series with the Reds and
lost two of three at San Francisco, so they are not playing very good
baseball of late.

The 6-foot-7 Johnson has already outdueled the Mets Johan Santana twice this season, so dont expect the youngster to be intimidated
tonight. The Marlins are playing good baseball too, as they earned a
split of the San Francisco series last night when rookie Sean West
took a no-hitter into the 7th-inning of a 4-0 victory over Randy
Johnson. The Marlins won three of four from Milwaukee prior to that,
so they are already 5-3 on an 11-game home stand that ends with the

Oddsmakers are anticipating a great duel just like the rest of us, as
they have set St. Louis and Carpenter as slim -115 favorites on the
moneyline. That makes Florida and Johnson a great value at +105 on
the dimeline. The over/under total is listed at 7 across the board at
all of the online sportsbooks taking action on the game.

Carpenter is certainly dealing like his Cy Young days of old, going
4-0 with a 0.71 ERA and 0.63 WHIP in his six starts, but that is the
key phrase six starts. Carpenter missed time with a ribcage strain
already and always seems to be one pitch away from the DL. The Cards
are 4-2 in his starts, including wins in his last two outings where
hes allowed just three runs and nine hits over 15 innings. Perhaps
the most impressive stat for Carpenter is his .184 opponents on-base
percentage, that my friends is dealing.

In his eight career starts against the Marlins Carpenter has been
just as tough, holding the Fish to a .232 batting average and a
measly.320 slugging percentage (13 extra-base hits in 231 PA) while
going 3-2 with a 1.92 ERA.

But if you think for a second that Florida doesnt have a chance in
this game against Carpenter, then you dont know much about Johnson.

Johnson has flown under the national radar for most of the year, but
at 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, you cant call yourself a true
baseball fan if you havent heard of him yet. The Marlins are 9-3 in
his 12 starts, including his last three outings where hes allowed
just 7 runs in 21.2 innings.

Johnson has made just one start against St. Louis in his career,
giving up seven hits and three runs in 6.2 innings (0-1, 4.05 ERA).
The big blow in that game was a two-run homerun by Albert Pujols,
someone hell have to be careful of tonight, but Johnson has not
given up a homerun in any of his last three starts.

The Cards offense is struggling right now anyway, including Pujols.
St. Louis is dead last in runs scored since May and have only scored
more than three twice in their last 12 games overall.

The Cards did however win five of the seven games against the Marlins
last year, including a 3-1 mark in what is now called LandShark
Stadium, which makes the Cards 9-2 in their last 11 games played in

All but one of those seven games last season stayed under the total,
so the under is looking good again tonight with the scheduled
pitchers duel on tap.

Badgers Pick: If you like pitching, this is going to be a dandy. I dont see either team having much success on offense tonight, so
under 7 is a solid wager. But Im going to take Carpenter at the low
odds of -115 to outduel Johnson in a 1-0 or 2-1 type of game. Take
St. Louis at -115.