Fish out of water: 5 things to watch for as the Cards take on Mi -

Fish out of water: 5 things to watch for as the Cards take on Miami

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(Baseball StL) -- The MLB's best faces the MLB's worst this weekend in beautiful, breezy Miami. The Cards are sporting a +102 run differential, while the Marlins boast a gentlemanly -96. 

All signs point to sunburns being a far bigger threat to the Cardinals than the Fish. That being said, if they're going to go all that way we might as well watch. Here are five things to keep an eye on for the series in Miami. 

1. Jake Westbrook's return to the mound. 

After taking more than a month off, Jake the Snake and his 1.62 ERA come back into the rotation for the Cardinals. Many are hoping Westbrook can step right back into rhythm, and if so, the Birds become even more terrifying. Even with a cadre of untested starters, the Cardinals have kept the starting ERA under 3. If Westbrook returns to form, the Cards might have enough arms to play for 24 hours straight. 

The activation of Westbrook will mean Wacha heads back down. While this will disappoint some, it should surprise no one. Management is clearly playing it cautious with the young ace, and he has plenty to work on before he returns to the show. 

2. David Freese owns Miami

His major-league-best 20 game hit streak may have ended Wednesday, but his bat shouldn't cool off any time soon. After a gruesome start, June is seeing Freese hit .378, which has bolstered his average to .281. Look to see that number creep up a little over the course of the weekend- he's hitting .464 against the Marlins for his career. 

3. Everyone kind of owns Miami

The Marlins are (not shockingly) the worst in the league in runs per game. Their paltry 3.0 matched with a sub-.230 average doesn't make for a ton of optimism in the sunshine state. Combine those pitiful offensive numbers with the fact that before Westbrook got hurt 3/4 of balls in play against him were on the ground, and this should be more of same for Miami.

4. The Cardinals are scarier on the road

The Birds have notched 24 of their 43 wins on the road this year, and they haven't lost a series on the road since they dropped two to the Diamondbacks in the first three games. 

5. More guys like this

Sure it was quite the stroke of luck to catch this amateur acrobat practicing his reps in the stadium seats; but it just proves that if you watch loyally and carefully, the gods of baseball reward you. 

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