MIAMI, FL - MARCH 06: A general view of the new Marlins Ballpark shot throught a fishtank behind home plate during a game between the Miami Marlins and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Marlins Park on March 6, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins open baseball's American slate of games with a crucial contest in Florida.
As the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins get set to conduct (United States) Opening Day Tuesday night, it's worth noting just how strange the two team's Opening Day starters are. On one side is Kyle Lohse, an anonymous middle-of-the-rotation guy who led the World Champions in wins and ERA and is here because Chris Carpenter couldn't be. On another there's Josh Johnson, one of the best pitchers in the National League who's nevertheless coming off a very worrying season of shoulder problems.
For the Cardinals—well, Lohse will have good games and bad games, and he's a clear underdog against Johnson. For the Marlins, though, already hoping their new ballpark will revive their flagging fortunes, how Josh Johnson looks in this first nationally televised performance could determine the look of this crucial season. In one inning the story of their first year as the "Miami Marlins" could be told; for the ridiculous home run feature's sake, it had better be an exciting one.