The Florida Marlins will return home on Thursday night after what was originally a nine-game-road-trip, was reduced to eight following Wednesday’s rain-out. The Fish finished the trip 6-2 and swept what became a two-game-series against the New York Mets. Florida won both games of the series in dramatic fashion by winning in their final at-bat. On the road trip, the Marlins not only climbed out of the cellar in the National League East, but caught the third place Mets. Florida returns home with a 55-55 record and have reached the .500 mark after once falling 11 games under. The Fish trail the Atlanta Braves by eight games in the Wild Card chase. The St. Louis Cardinals arrive in South Florida with a 58-53 record and are currently in second place in the National League Central. The Cardinals trail the Milwaukee Brewers by three and a half games in the division and are five and a half back of Atlanta for the Wild Card. The two meet for four games beginning on Thursday night.
Tied 2-2. The Marlins and Cardinals alternated wins when the teams met for four games in St. Louis back in early May. The Cardinals won the series finale 6-3 on a late blast by Lance Berkman. That day, the Cards handed Josh Johnson his only loss of 2011.
Fish .500 Again
On June 28th, the Marlins dropped a pitcher’s duel to the Oakland Athletics 1-0. The loss dropped Florida’s record to 34-45; since then, the Marlins have gone 21-10 and are at .500 for the first time since June 12th. The Fish have gone 23-15 with Jack McKeon at the helm. The Marlins look to win the series with the Cardinals and climb above the .500 mark.
Pujols Putting up Stanton-like Numbers
Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols is a three-time-MVP and his numbers are once again amongst the best in the National League. But one guy who has been largely ignored by the national sports media is Marlins’ right fielder Mike Stanton. In fact, Stanton’s power numbers are actually better than that of Albert Pujols. Stanton is tied for ninth in the National League with 67 RBIs compared to 65 from Albert Pujols. Stanton also has 25 home runs, which ranks third in the N.L. and is one better than Pujols. If the Marlins were in contention, Stanton could make a case as a viable MVP candidate. While that’s obviously not going to happen this year, don’t discount the idea of Stanton being a MVP candidate in the future.
Thursday – Kyle Lohse (STL) 9-7, 3.33 ERA vs. Clay Hensley (FLA) 1-3, 3.09 ERA
Friday – Jake Westbrook (STL) 9-5, 4.92 ERA vs. Anibal Sanchez (FLA) 6-4, 3.74 ERA
Saturday – Chris Carpenter (STL) 6-8, 3.85 ERA vs. Ricky Nolasco (FLA) 8-7, 3.92 ERA
Sunday – Jaime Garcia (STL) 10-5, 3.22 ERA vs. Javier Vazquez (FLA) 7-9, 4.88 ERA