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Preview of the Starting Pitching Matchups for the Miami Marlins’ First Two Games In 2012: A Fan’s Take
The April 4 game against the Cardinals will usher in a new era for the Marlins as they will play their first regular season game as the Miami Marlins as well as their first regular season game at Marlins Park. The season opener will also mark the return of Marlins' ace Josh Johnson to the mound and be the first regular season game for Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell in a Marlins uniform.
After a solo game against St. Louis, the Marlins will travel to Cincinnati on April 5 to open a three-game series against the Reds. Mark Buehrle will get the ball for the Marlins in the series opening game against the Reds.
Josh Johnson vs. Kyle Lohse
Right-hander Josh Johnson—3-1, 1.69 ERA in nine starts in 2011—gets the nod in the Marlins' season opener versus the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite not pitching in a game since last May, Johnson was solid in his six spring training starts. Johnson saved his best start of the spring for last when he struck out 9 Washington Nationals' hitters in 5.2 innings of work. Johnson also gave up six hits and three runs while taking the loss. Overall this spring, Johnson went 2-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 24 strike outs in 22.1 innings.
Johnson—2-1 with 2.54 ERA in his last four regular season starts against St. Louis—will face a Cardinals team that lost star first baseman Albert Pujols to the Los Angeles Angels and manager Tony La Russa to the office of the commissioner. With Pujols in the lineup, the Cardinals led the NL in scoring—4.7 runs —, batting average—.273—and on-base plus slugging percentage—.766. While the Cards may not be as potent offensively as they were in the past, they still have dangerous hitters such as Lance Berkman, Matt Holiday and Carlos Beltran.
Johnson—one of the most dominant power pitchers in the game—faced St. Louis twice this spring going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in four innings of work. Johnson also gave up three hits, walked three and struck out five.
Right-hander Kyle Lohse is coming off his best season in 11 years in 2011 as he posted a 14-8 record with a 3.39 ERA in 30 starts. Lohse—relies on his control—also gave up 178 hits in 188.1 innings while recording 111 strikeouts and surrendering 42 walks.
Like Johnson, Lohse had a very solid spring and saved his best for his last outing where he went 6 innings giving up just 3 hits while striking out 7 and walking 1. Overall, Lohse posted a 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 innings during spring training.
Lohse hasn't fared that well versus the Marlins in his last four games including two spring training appearances this year. In his two games against the Marlins—have a new look lineup—this spring, Lohse was 0-1 as he gave up two earned runs in five innings. In two starts against the Marlins in 2011, Lohse—didn't get a decision in either star—gave up eight earned runs in a total of nine innings of work.
Mark Buehrle vs. Johnny Cueto
The crafty left-handed Buehrle will make his first regular season start as a Marlin after spending the previous 12 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Buehrle has faced the Reds twice in the regular season and has come away with a victory both times. The two times Buehrle faced the Reds was in 2001 and 2009. In his first meeting with the Reds, Buehrle surrendered two runs—one was earned—in eight innings. Buerhle's second start against the Reds was a little better as he threw seven shutout innings, allowed five hits and struck out three. Overall, Buehrle—holds the record for most victories in interleague play—is 24-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 38 interleague starts.
Cueto earned the Reds' opening day start after making 2011 his best season of his young career. Cueto—surrendered just eight homers all year—compiled a 9-5 record and a career best 2.31 ERA n 156 innings. Cueto also struck out 104 batters and walked 47. In addition, Cueto completed three games and recorded a career best 1.09 WHIP.
Cueto had a rocky spring training though he saved his best performance for last. Cueto—posted a 1-3 record with a 4.95 ERA in five spring starts—went six innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs against the Cleveland Indians in his last spring training outing on March 30.
Daniel Benjamin has followed the Marlins since the teams inception in 1993.
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