The St. Louis Cardinals were handpicked by the Miami Marlins to open the latter's gleaming new stadium, and now it's St. Louis' job to ruin the housewarming party. The two teams will open the 2012 MLB regular season— at least on U.S. soil— on Wednesday night in Miami, and for both teams the game represents the beginning of a new era.
For the Cardinals, of course, tonight will be the franchise's first game in over a decade without Albert Pujols manning first base and Tony La Russa in the dugout. Their replacements are Lance Berkman— who slides down from right field— and Mike Matheny, the ex-Cardinals catcher and special advisor who will be making his managerial debut (at any level). As for the Marlins, well, what hasn't changed? The stadium is new, the name, colors, logo and uniform are all new, and so is the starting line up, which features new acquisition Jose Reyes at the top of the line up and ex-All Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez at third base.
Kyle Lohse will take the hill for St. Louis tonight, and he'll be looking to repeat the scorching April he had in 2011, when he allowed seven earned runs in 38.1 innings to start the season. The Cardinals will face Marlins ace Josh Johnson, who was almost literally unhittable last season, posting a 1.64 ERA in nine starts before missing the rest of the season with shoulder trouble.
Game date/time: Wednesday, April 4, 6:05 p.m. CT
Location: Marlins Park, Miami, Fla.
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