Pitchers’ Battle: Florida Marlins at Arizona Diamondbacks

Florida Marlins (30-22)  AT Arizona Diamondbacks (30-24)
May 31, 2011 at 9:40 PM EST
Opening Moneyline:  ARI -125; FLA +105
Current Moneyline:  ARI -125; FLA +104
Opening Total:  8
Current Total:  8.5

SP:  FLA- A. Sanchez; ARI- I. Kennedy

Ian Kennedy will take the mound for the Diamondbacks tonight

Tonight’s game pits two of the hottest pitchers against one another and both teams have been relative surprises this season, as neither was expected to be 6 to 8 games over .500 at this early juncture in the season.

Ian Kennedy takes the mound for the Diamondbacks.  Kennedy is 6-1 with a 3.01 ERA and has won all 5 of his last decisions while recording a 1.87 ERA over those 8 games (only 5 of which had decisions).  What’s more is that the Diamondbacks have won seven straight games and a win today would match their longest winning streak since April of 2008.  They have also won 15 of their last 17 games.

In Monday’s opening series rout the Diamondbacks had 19 hits (one shy of a club record) as they went on to win 15-4.  Kellyl Johnson recorded four extra base hits, two of which were home runs, and if he had recorded a single he would have hit for the cycle.  Justin Upton also had a huge game, going 5 of 5 with 3 RBIs, while Miguel Montero matched his career high with 5 RBIs.

“This is a very confident team,” Johnson said, “a lot of momentum, a lot of just mojo, a lot of swagger, I mean, all of it, everything you’re looking for in a winning team. It’s been a lot of fun together.”

For as good as the Diamondbacks have been, they will be facing a very tough pitcher in Anibal Sanchez.  Sanchez is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA.  He has, however, struggled badly against the Diamond backs, a team in which he has gone 0-1 in two starts.  He gave up 10 runs and 17 hits over 10 1/3rds innings.  He had a no hitter against the Diamondbacks in 2006, but to equate that success with today’s team would be silly since most of the players on Arizona 5 years ago are no longer with the club.

“Anibal Sanchez is becoming one of the best pitchers in the major leagues,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez told the team’s official website. “He’s showing that over and over. He’s in control of the game. He needs to keep going.”

Some betting trends:

Arizona is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games and 5-0 SU in their last 5 at home.

Tonight’s game promises to be a pitchers’ duel as both pitchers are hot.  The Marlins are seeking to avoid a third consecutive loss and Sanchez should give them a reasonable chance to do so.  Ian Kennedy, as mentioned, has also been red hot.  The total of ‘8’ for today’s game may actually prove to be high as I fully expect this game to be a low scoring game, despite the hot hitting of the Diamondbacks.

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