As I mentioned last night, this road trip is the first time since 2004 that the Cubs have won at least seven games on a single road trip; they went 8-4 on a September 2004 trip.
The last time the Cubs won six consecutive games on the road was in 2008, also the last time they swept two straight road series -- that four-game sweep in Milwaukee, then a three-game sweep in Atlanta. But those two road series were separated by a homestand. The last time a Cubs team swept two consecutive series of at least three games on a single road trip was... 1945, when they swept the Braves (then in Boston) in a four-game series, then took a five-game set in Philadelphia. Road trips were longer in those days -- those series were part of a 16-game road trip in late June and early July -- and the nine straight games won in those two series were part of what is still the club record, 12 consecutive road wins.
Winning today and sweeping these two series is a much more modest goal. Still, I'd like to see it.
And in his attempt to accomplish this goal, manager Mike Quade is sending out a lineup that resembles the starting lineup you'd send out for a team the day after a division clincher:
#Cubs lineup @ #Marlins (9/19): Fuld CF, Barney SS, Baker 2B, Hoffpauir 1B, Colvin RF, Scales 3B, Snyder LF, Castillo C, Samardzija P
Of these nine, only two of them (Baker and Colvin) were not at some point this year members of the Iowa Cubs. But hey -- why not? (And Iowa did pretty well with them, tying for the best record in the Pacific Coast League.) Also, word is that Hanley Ramirez will sit for the third straight day for the Marlins.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2010 - Jeff Samardzija||1-1||5||1||0||0||0||0||9.0||11||11||7||1||10||3||7.00||2.33|
|2010 - Andrew Miller||1-2||6||4||0||0||0||0||24.0||36||21||18||5||16||21||6.75||2.17|
Jeff Samardzija has six career relief appearances vs. the Marlins (7.1 innings, four earned runs, four walks, eight strikeouts). However, with the big roster turnover in Florida, he has faced only four current Marlins (Hanley Ramirez, Emilio Bonifacio, Dan Uggla and Chad Tracy), who have gone a combined 1-for-6 against him. In short, who knows?
Andrew Miller will be making his first career appearance and start against the Cubs today. Jeff Baker has faced him before and homered; Baker is getting the start today at 2B and hitting third. Miller spent much of this season in the minor leagues (and didn't pitch well there, posting an ERA over six in Double-A).
Today's game is on WGN and FSN Florida. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at noon CDT, and the overflows will post at 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm and 3 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.