Saying that any part of a major league team's schedule should be "easy" risks being wrong, and ignominiously so. Consider the Cardinals, who probably figured after sweeping the Cubs, that they'd make easy pickings of the other Chicago team that followed the Cubs into St. Louis.
That didn't work out so well for the Cardinals, though the Cubs will certainly thank the White Sox for taking two straight games in St. Louis.
Thus it is with the Marlins, who many of us thought the Cubs would sweep when they went to Miami a month ago, shortly after they made the seemingly bizarre decision to fire manager Mike Redmond and replace him with Dan Jennings, a front-office type with zero professional coaching or managing experience.
After a brief burst of winning under Jennings, including taking two of three from the Cubs, they have returned to their losing ways. They were 16-22 under Redmond, now 18-24 under Jennings. They have top starter Jose Fernandez back from Tommy John surgery, though he won't pitch at Wrigley Field this weekend.
The Marlins are, however, coming off a three-game sweep of the Giants (and Cubs fans thank them for that!), including a walkoff win on Wednesday on a three-run homer by former Cubs farmhand Justin Bour. (Want to see a high Win Probability Added? Look at Bour's line in that boxscore.)
Game One: Jason Hammel (5-3, 2.92 ERA, 0.972 WHIP, 2.90 FIP) vs. Tom Koehler (3.66 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 4.54 FIP)
Game Two: Donn Roach (0-1, 10.80 ERA, 2.700 WHIP, 3.38 FIP) vs. Jarred Cosart (1-3, 4.12 ERA, 1.260 WHIP, 4.57 FIP)
Game Three: Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 4.15 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 3.54 FIP) vs. Mat Latos (3-5, 5.27 ERA, 1.405 WHIP, 3.63 FIP)
As I wrote above, the Marlins are somewhat hot, having swept the Giants. They've won four of their last five (and have accomplished that without the injured Giancarlo Stanton!), but before that they'd lost eight of their last nine. They are also not a good road team, with a 13-24 record away from Marlins Park. During that eight-of-nine losing regime, they scored only 18 total runs and rank 13th overall in the National League in runs scored (granted, the Cubs rank 12th).
The pitching matchups should be favorable to the Cubs on Friday and Sunday, so I'm going to go with two out of three here.
The Cubs host the Cardinals for a four-game series, the most meaningful July series between the two teams in several years. That set includes the makeup game for the postponement on April 7, which will be played as the daytime half of a split doubleheader on Tuesday.