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Cardinals will face winless Marlins in home opener

ST. LOUIS – It seems the St. Louis Cardinals may catch a lucky break as they open their home schedule Thursday. Their first opponent at Busch Stadium, the Miami Marlins, have yet to win a game after seven games of action.

The Marlins closed out a seven-game homestand to start their season Wednesday afternoon with a 10-2 loss. They have lost four games to the Pittsburgh Pirates and three games to the Los Angeles Angels.

As a result, St. Louis will play host to a winless Miami squad on Opening Day.

Coming off an NL Wild Card berth last year, the Marlins have certainly had stronger starts. It seems they have also been a little unlucky from the get-go as well. The Marlins are hitting into a lot of outs as indicated by a .255 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) that ranks among MLB’s worst. Four of their six losses have come in save situations, hinting they have come closer than not to some wins.

These six Cardinals will start the 2024 season on the injured list

What does this mean for the Cardinals? Things seem to be lining up to take advantage of the Marlins’ early-season skid.

The Cardinals weathered through a tough Opening Day series with the league-juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers and almost earned a four-game series split. The offense and pitching made some strides near the end of that series and have found strong form in San Diego. St. Louis will have at least three wins, and possibly four, heading into Thursday’s home opener.

Not too far removed from spring training, it also helps that the Cardinals played the Marlins just as much as anyone over February and March. St. Louis scored at least eight runs against Miami in three spring games that featured a starting lineup of mostly regulars. This recency, paired with some injuries to Miami pitchers, could make for a big offensive series.

The St. Louis weather could also pose a challenge to the Marlins. St. Louis is preparing for a brisk home opener that may not top 50 degrees. Miami usually plays under controlled conditions with a retractable roof or warm weather. At the very least, it’s an element they won’t have to deal with often.

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Cardinals (Seasonal)

Thursday’s pitching matchup will be Lance Lynn (4 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 1 BB) vs. Ryan Weathers (4 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB). Hitting wise, Cardinals’ super utility man Brendan Donovan (7 hits, 6 RBI) and Marlins third baseman and St. Louis native Jake Burger (8 hits, 7 RBI) have arguably had the most momentum among their teammates to this point.

The manager matchup will also be intriguing with Oli Marmol facing Skip Schumaker, a former Cardinal who also served as bench coach in Marmol’s first season as head coach in 2022.

The Cardinals and Marlins are scheduled to play Thursday with an off-day Friday pending weather. The three-game series will resume Saturday and end Sunday.

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