Rivals Collide

The St. Louis Cardinals didn't give Jason Marquis a chance to help in the postseason last year. As an opponent, he hasn't given his former team much of a chance.

Marquis looks to earn his second straight win against the Cardinals as he takes the mound for the Chicago Cubs on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.

Oddsmakers have made St. Louis -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Marquis (2-1, 1.88 ERA) won 42 games in three seasons with St. Louis (10-11), but didn't pitch in the playoffs as the Cardinals went on to win their first World Series title in 24 years. The Cubs (8-13) signed him to a $21 million, three-year deal in the offseason and have had no reason to regret the decision.

Marquis has given up three or fewer earned runs in each of his four starts.

The right-hander beat the Cardinals in his last outing, allowing seven hits while striking out five in seven innings as the Cubs won 6-0 on Saturday. Marquis is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the St. Louis for his career, which includes four seasons with the Atlanta Braves prior to joining the Cardinals in 2004.

"I know what I'm capable of and the Cubs know what I'm capable of," he told the Cubs' Web site. "All I have to do is execute my pitches."

Marquis - who will be counted on even more now that Mark Prior is out for the season after shoulder surgery - will match up with St. Louis' Anthony Reyes (0-3, 5.63) again. Reyes gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings during Saturday's contest.

He is 0-3 lifetime with a 5.14 ERA in two starts and a relief appearance against the Cubs.

The right-hander has lost each of his three starts this season, although the Cardinals have scored a total of only three runs for him in those outings.

Reyes will likely face a Chicago lineup that again includes Alfonso Soriano after the slugger sat out a 9-3 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday. Soriano, who had returned from a hamstring strain on Monday, was given the day off because of rainy conditions at Wrigley Field.

Even without Soriano, Chicago's five-run fourth inning Wednesday matched its run output of the previous two games, and helped end a three-game losing streak.

The Cubs, though, have lost four straight in St. Louis and are 24-57 there since 1996.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have won consecutive home games for the first time this season. On Thursday afternoon, Skip Schumaker had a career-best three hits and two RBIs to help St. Louis rally from an early four-run deficit to beat Cincinnati 7-5.

Schumaker was 4-for-27 (.148) in a reserve role, including 2-for-14 as a pinch hitter, before manager Tony La Russa started him in left field.

"When you don't get too many starts, you want to do something," Schumaker said.

St. Louis won two of three games at Chicago last weekend despite losing the middle contest to Marquis.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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