(BaseballStL) — After the beating administered by the Orioles offense in Maryland, the Cardinals look to regain ground in the National League Central race.
After two losses, St. Louis slipped back to two full games behind the Brewers. Now they head to Miami for what they hope will be a return form as they head into mid August.
Despite the show the Orioles put on at Camden Yards, offenses have found Marlins Park far more hospitable than the banks of Chesapeake Bay.
The numbers for hits, runs, doubles and triples all favor the hitter in Miami and overall the park favors batsmen more heavily than Baltimore. The home run totals are lower in south Florida, but last weekend’s impromptu home run derby may have skewed the numbers just a bit.
The Marlins don’t boast the long ball totals the Orioles do, with only 94 (29 by Giancarlo Stanton) on the year. In August, they’ve hit just .203. This is good news for the Cardinal pitching staff, since the big St. Louis bats have found themselves gasping for air in Miami.
Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta all hit below .260 in the park, and none of the four have ever homered there. Though St. Louis shelled Monday’s starter Tom Koehler when they met in 2013 (nine runs in 4.2 innings), he has only thrown to six current players in the organization (two of which are Pete Kozma and Yadier Molina). No one in the Cardinal dugout has more than three at bats against him.
The nice thing for the Cardinals is the Miami pitching staff as a whole is nothing to write home about. The rotation ranks third to last in the NL with an ERA of 4.12 and hitters post a .265 average against South Beach starters. Most of the damage control gets done in the field, as the rotation has struck out the second fewest hitters on the Senior Circuit. Batters do have to earn it, since the starters have walked the third fewest batters in the league.
The bullpen is hittable, with the third worst opponent average in the NL at .254.
Shelby Miler takes the ball for the Cardinals, riding an impressive return to 2013 form. After a rough first half, the righty has come back from prescribed rest to allow five runs in 18.2 innings in his return to the rotation. Hitters have posted a .154/.167/.354 line against him in those games, as he walked just one and allowed 10 hits.
Before losing three of their last four in Miami, St. Louis had won seven straight.