Marquis Pitching For Rivals

Jason Marquis won 42 games and a World Series ring in three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He surely would take that same success while pitching for their biggest rivals.

Marquis faces his former team for the first time when the Chicago Cubs continue a three-game series with the Cardinals on Saturday.

Oddsmakers have made Chicago -130 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at NL total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis +118 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Marquis (1-1, 2.65 ERA), who broke into the majors with Atlanta in 2000, averaged 14 wins a season with St. Louis before signing a $21 million, three-year deal with the Cubs on Jan. 3.

Signing the right-hander to a lucrative contract may have been seen as a risky move by some. Marquis was tied with Washington's Ramon Ortiz for the NL lead with 16 losses, had a career-worst 6.02 ERA while allowing a league-high 35 home runs in 33 starts.

Marquis also was left off the roster for both the NLCS and the World Series.

"It's a new chapter in my life," Marquis told the Cubs' official Web site. "I had a great time in St. Louis when I was there, made good friends, played for good people in terms of the coaching staff. Now I'm here with the Cubs."

Marquis has pitched well in his first three starts with his new team, limiting the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in each outing. He earned his first win of the season Monday against San Diego, yielding one run and three hits in six innings with four walks and five strikeouts in a 12-4 victory.

Marquis beat the Cardinals in his only start against them with Atlanta on Aug. 3, 2002.

Braden Looper allowed five hits in seven innings and Preston Wilson hit a two-run homer Friday as the Cardinals (7-9) snapped a four-game skid with a 2-1 victory.

Despite the win, St. Louis continues to struggle offensively. The Cardinals have scored 12 runs in their last five games and are batting .229 this season.

Third baseman Scott Rolen went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup after missing two games due to food poisoning. Rolen is batting .196 (9-for-46) with one homer and seven RBIs.

The Cubs (6-10) wasted another strong outing from starter Ted Lilly, who is 1-2 in four starts despite a 2.42 ERA.

Chicago, which has lost five straight to St. Louis, has dropped six of eight at Wrigley Field this season.

Center fielder Alfonso Soriano missed his fourth straight game with a sore hamstring, but could pinch-hit this weekend. Soriano did some running Friday and will do so again Saturday to see how he feels.

"The outcome of that will determine when we get him back in. The trainer seems to think Monday or Tuesday,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Anthony Reyes (0-2, 5.40) makes his third start of 2007 for the Cardinals after failing to make it past the fifth inning in his first two. He needed 47 pitches to escape the first inning Monday against Pittsburgh, allowing three runs and three hits. Reyes settled down thereafter, yielding three runs and six hits through five innings in a 3-2 loss.

Reyes gave up three runs over six innings in his only career start against the Cubs, a 4-2 road loss on July 29.

Chicago third baseman Aramis Ramirez had two hits Friday, and has hit safely in 18 straight dating to last year.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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