The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins will finish up a three-game set on Wednesday afternoon at loanDepot Park. St. Louis will be going for the sweep after winning the first two games of the series, including a 4-2 triumph on Tuesday night to cash in as a +114 underdog. The Cardinals are back above .500 at 3-2 after dropping their opening series to the Cincinnati Reds, while Miami is struggling at 1-4 as it lost two of three to the Tampa Bay Rays to begin 2021.
This has historically been a one-sided matchup with St. Louis leading 119-80 all-time, and the Cardinals have only lost the season series five times dating back to 1993.
St. Louis shuts down Marlins againAfter being shelled by Cincinnati in the opening series, the Cardinals have allowed just three runs in the first two games of the Miami series, and managed to navigate a shaky first inning to win their second straight. Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, the Cardinals fought back to take the lead on RBI by Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina, with Dylan Carlson adding a solo shot in the ninth.
Ryan Helsley picked up the win in relief as starter John Gant only went four innings, and Alex Reyes was sharp in a four-out save. Molina had the only multi-hit game for the Cardinals with two singles in addition to the sacrifice fly.
St. Louis is now 3-2 against the spread, as it has only been favored in one game, a 12-1 loss in the finale of the Reds series. Overs are also 3-2 for the Cardinals, with both games against Miami going under the betting total.
Entering Tuesday's action, the Cardinals were averaging 5.5 runs per game, with much of the damage coming in an 11-6 win over the Reds on Opening Day. St. Louis pitching had managed a 7.41 collective ERA, although it has been much better in this series as the Reds piled up 27 runs across three games to open the season.
Ace Jack Flaherty will make his second start of the season, hoping to improve on an Opening Day outing in which he allowed six runs on six hits with four strikeouts across 4.1 innings in a no-decision. Offseason acquisition Nolan Arenado is off to a great start with his new team, going 7-17 with a home run and three RBI.
Starting center fielder Harrison Bader went on the IL late in Spring Training with forearm discomfort, and will be out a few more weeks. The Cardinals rotation is shorthanded, as Kwang Hyun Kim (back) and Miles Mikolas (shoulder) are out, while Dakota Hudson will likely miss the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Marlins bats quiet againSandy Alcantara was electric again, but the Marlins simply haven't been able to generate any offense to support their exciting young rotation one turn through. The Marlins scored in the bottom of the first on an error by Tyler O'Neill and added a run in the bottom of the sixth on Jazz Chisholm's sacrifice fly, but that would be it as they were 1-13 with runners in scoring position.
Sandy is 🗣piling 🗣them 🗣up. pic.twitter.com/9DD2OmAj0z— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 7, 2021
Garrett Cooper had three walks and scored a run for the Marlins, who only managed one extra-base hit on a Chisholm double. Alcantara struck out 10 in just six innings while allowing two earned on four hits and two walks, but unfortunatley was saddled with the loss.
The Marlins are 2-3 against the spread, as they lost 1-0 on Opening Day to Tampa Bay as a big underdog to at least cover the +1.5 runline. Overs fall to 2-3 for the Marlins, with both games against the Cardinals going under the betting total.
Offense has not been easy to come by for the Marlins so far, as they were averaging 4.25 runs per game heading into Tuesday with just a 0.662 OPS as a team. Miami's starting pitching has been excellent, but bullpen issues have lead to a 4.00 ERA overall thus far.
Pablo Lopez gets the start for the Marlins after tossing five scoreless innings against the Rays in his first outing, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four. Starling Marte has provided the offense for the Marlins early on, going 7-15 with a double, a triple and two RBI, while Cooper has one of two long balls for the Marlins.
Outfielder Jesus Sanchez is out with a groin injury, and will have to battle for a roster spot when he's healthy. Starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez was placed on the 10-day IL following his outing last weekend due to elbow inflammation. Reliever Jeff Brigham is currently on the 60-day IL dating back to February, with no reason for the absence given.
Trends via Covers.com. St Louis is:
- 1-4 in its last five games against right-handed starters.
- 1-4 in its last five road games.