Sweeping the Boston Red Sox in Boston was an impressive series for the Marlins, but unfortunately, the otherworldly Atlanta Braves can stop anyone in their tracks, no matter how much momentum they have. After a rough weekend in Atlanta for the Marlins, they are now back home to host the Cardinals, and we’ll preview the opening game of the series before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
No one is going to declare the St. Louis Cardinals officially back now that they won a series over a depleted Yankees team. Still, the one positive is that their pitching staff used the struggling New York offense to bounce back from a rough series against the Astros. The Cardinals secured the series yesterday in a 5-1 win, as Jordan Montgomery gave them a strong start, and the offense got big hits from Jordan Walker, Andrew Knizner, and Brendan Donavan.
Getting the ball for St. Louis tonight will be one of the starters that struggled against the Astros in Miles Mikolas. The veteran right-hander got tagged for five earned runs in 5 ⅔ innings against Houston his last time out, which is the third time in his last five starts he’s allowed five or more runs. In total, Mikolas has made 16 starts, and in 93.7 innings, he is pitching to a 4.23 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 19 walks.
The Marlins team that Mikolas will be facing tonight is fresh off getting swept by the Braves but is finally back home after a six-game road trip. Miami went from playing at a high level at the plate and on the mound in the Boston series to struggling with both against Atlanta. With a chance to avoid the sweep yesterday, Miami fell 6-3, as they got a big day at the plate from Luiz Arreaz but other than that struggled to put runs on the board.
Miami’s pitching staff allowed three earned runs in the entire Boston series but a total of 29 runs this past weekend to the Braves. Tonight they will hand the ball to Braxton Garrett, who has been ultra-impressive as of late. The lefty may have punched out just two guys in his last start, but he allowed just one earned run for the fourth straight outing, which brought his ERA down to 3.53 in 81.7 innings.
With Miami looking to get back into the win column tonight, they are listed at (-130) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Marlins may be coming off a rough series, while the Cardinals are coming off a series win, but the Marlins still hold the advantage in terms of pitching.
Since June 3rd, the Marlins are hitting .303 and rank 7th in OPS and wOBA against right-handed pitching at home. It may have been a rough weekend in Atlanta, but they get to now return to a setting where they have played well all season and face a starter in Miles Mikolas, that is in the 4th percentile in expected batting average, 15th percentile in xERA/xwOBA, and has a FIP on the road of 4.71 this season.
While Miami’s offense thrives in this spot, the Cardinals have struggled with their matchup tonight over the past month, as they are hitting .194 with a .580 OPS against left-handed pitching on the road. They’ll square up with a starter in Braxton Garrett, who has an xFIP at home of 2.97 and a groundball percentage of 48.2%. When Garrett is done tonight, he’ll then hand the ball to a Marlins bullpen that has the best xFIP in the league over the past month.
Miami Marlins (-130)