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ALBERT PUJOLS IS 1-FOR-14 IN THE FIRST 3 GAMES OF AUGUST.
Thu, 04 Aug 2011 12:53 PM EDT

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (58-53, -5.0 Units)

at FLORIDA MARLINS (55-55, -0.7 Units)

First pitch: Thursday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Florida -115, St. Louis +105, Total: 8.5

The skidding Cardinals need to get back on track or they might dig themselves too big of a hole to get out of. Less than a month ago, St. Louis was in first place, but has dropped five of eight, including two of three to the division-leading Brewers, who now own a 3½-game lead on the Cards. On Thursday, they begin a four-game series in Florida against a Marlins team playing great baseball. They are 8-2 in their past 10 games to get back to .500 for the first time since June 12. Baseball scores.

Although St. Louis has lost seven of the past nine games started by Kyle Lohse, the Cards are an impressive 17-8 all-time when Lohse opens a series for them. Florida is a lackluster 23-30 at home and only 3-7 when tabbed as a -100 to -125 favorite. The Marlins are 3-13 in their past 16 home games against teams with a winning record. Expect ST. LOUIS to take the series opener as a slight underdog.

Here are two more FoxSheets trends backing the Cardinals:

ST. LOUIS is 22-9 (71.0%, +13.6 Units) against the money line vs. a starting pitcher whose gives up 5.5 or less hits/start this season. The average score was ST. LOUIS 5.1, OPPONENT 3.6 – (Rating = 2*). Baseball odds.

FLORIDA is 12-27 (30.8%, -18.3 Units) against the money line in home games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 or better over the last 2 seasons. The average score was FLORIDA 3.4, OPPONENT 4.7 – (Rating = 2*).

Kyle Lohse (9-7, 3.33 ERA) has had a pretty good year, but he has struggled recently. He sports a 5.53 ERA in his past five starts and only lasted six innings in one of the five outings. Lohse is 2-2 with a 5.52 ERA in his career against the Marlins, and was tagged for five runs in six innings earlier this year in May. Albert Pujols (.275 BA, 25 HR, 65 RBI) has not had a good start to this month (1-for-14), but he usually stings the ball in August, hitting .342 with a whopping 1.087 OPS.

During the Marlins’ recent run of eight out of 10, they have averaged 5.1 runs with 16 homers. Florida took the first two from the Mets this week before being rained out Wednesday night. Clay Hensley (1-3, 3.09 ERA) has been very effective since getting moved from the bullpen to the rotation. He has a 2.65 ERA in his three starts, as opponents are batting a lowly .167 off him (10-for-60). Hensley is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA versus the Cardinals for his career, but that only includes one start, in May 2006. Florida has won four of the past six meetings with St. Louis, dating back to last year. Baseball spreads.


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