The Marlins! They suck, right? At last, a team the Cubs should be able to beat! Their record is even worse than the Cubs' (5-16, to the Cubs' 6-14).
And you're saying, "Right. Marlins fans are probably saying that about the Cubs, too."
However, there is a difference. The Marlins' record, I believe, reflects their abilities better than the Cubs' does. Their Pythagorean record is the same as their actual record (because they have scored 54 runs and allowed 98 -- ranking 16th and 15th, respectively, in the National League). Meanwhile, the Cubs have scored 65 runs, not much better, but allowed 82, which ranks ninth, and have a Pythagorean record of 8-12. A two-game spread in that record this early in the year is pretty significant. The Cubs' starting pitching has been excellent; as you know, the lack of timely hitting, poor defense and bad bullpen work have been the primary causes.
The Cubs have yet to lose a game by more than four runs. The Marlins already have four of those. The Marlins have scored one run or less in a game nine times; the Cubs have done that just four times. Their "best" hitter is Justin Ruggiano, who is hitting .236/.286/.431 for an OPS+ of 97; the Cubs have four hitters (Welington Castillo, Anthony Rizzo, Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena) who are better than that, and one (Starlin Castro, 95) who's close.
It's pretty clear to me that despite the Cubs' bad start, they are a significantly better team than the Marlins. I'll be disappointed if the Cubs don't win at least three of the four games in this series.
Unrelated, but important: Every single person here should read this David Kaplan article before making a single further comment on the Cubs' finances.
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DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Jackson P
Coghlan LF, Polanco 3B, Stanton RF, Mahoney 1B, Ruggiano CF, Brantly C, Valaika SS, Solano 2B, Slowey P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Edwin Jackson||0-3||4||4||0||0||0||0||22.1||20||17||12||1||11||24||4.84||1.39|
|2013 - Kevin Slowey||0-2||4||4||0||0||0||0||23.2||23||5||5||2||6||15||1.90||1.23|
Edwin Jackson faced the Marlins three times last year, but that's largely irrelevant because of the huge Miami roster turnover. Current Marlins, though, are hitting .316 (28-for-81) against him, with three home runs, two of them from Miguel Olivo, who doesn't even start for them. I have a feeling it's going to be a lot of "Who?" when Marlins players come to bat. And that's from their own fans.
Kevin Slowey is who we hoped Scott Baker would be. He was injured in 2011, missed half the season, got traded to the Rockies (for Zach Putnam, who could be in the Cubs' bullpen soon), and eventually signed with the Marlins as a free agent. He's off to a good start, one of the few good things the Marlins have. He has one career start against the Cubs, June 12, 2009 at Wrigley Field (lineup for amusement value only) and David DeJesus has had some success against him from their A.L. days (7-for-20, four doubles, a home run).
Today's game is on WCIU, which means many of you won't be able to see it. Perhaps you are looking forward to that. The Cubs continue their bizarre splits on various TV channels:
WGN: 5-3 CSN: 1-9 WCIU: O-1 Fox: O-1
I know it shouldn't matter. Maybe this is the team's way of saying management should re-up with WGN.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Marlins site FishStripes.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.