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Opening Night -- Let's Get It On

       As everyone in the clubhouse watched the Phillies came from behind in the ninth to knock off the Astros this afternoon, I turned to Wes Helms and asked him if that outcome made it imperative for the Marlins to win tonight's season opener -- just to stay abreast with the Phils and Braves in the N.L. East.

        He got it and laughed.

        Hey, it's Game 1 of 162, only with quite a lot more fanfare than a Wednesday night in July. Tonight's crowd is expected to hit 40,000, which means it will probably be the largest of the season considering neither the Yankees or Red Sox are making trips here.

        But a hot start might be important for the Marlins who, let's face it, aren't exactly taking on a monster lineup to kick off their final season as the Florida Marlins. After the Mets, who could easily pull up the rear in the East, they have three with the Nationals and three with Astros before the competition stiffens.

        A couple of Opening Night factoids for what will mark the final season opener in what is now known as Sun Life Stadium:

        -- The Marlins are 9-9 all-time in Opening Day games (1-2 vs. the Mets). The Marlins are 8-5 in season openers played at home.

        -- Josh Johnson becomes the seventh Marlins pitch to start more than one season opener. The others: Charlie Hough, Kevin Brown, Alex Fernandez, Ryan Dempster, Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis.


        New York Mets: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Willie Harris, lf; 3. David Wright, 3b; 4. Carlos Beltran, rf; 5. Angel Pagan, cf; 6. Ike Davis, 1b; 7. Brad Emaus, 2b; 8. Josh Thole, c; 9. Mike Pelfrey, p.

         Florida Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Mike Stanton, rf; 5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 6. Logan Morrison, lf; 7. John Buck, c; 8. Donnie Murphy, 3b; 9. Josh Johnson, p.