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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

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The Marlins are on a hot streak as they come to Wrigley Field.

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Marlins are coming off the excitement of Edinson Volquez’ no-hitter Saturday against the Diamondbacks. They have also played better since a 14-27 start; they’ve gone 10-4 since that low point of their season.

Michael Bennett of our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes tells us about his team:

You probably know that the Marlins have been terrible for much of the season, and it probably doesn't come as a surprise. Sure, they returned a fairly talented offensive core anchored by the stellar outfield trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, and yes, they assembled a bullpen that looked good "on paper."

The starting staff looked suspect from the get-go, however, due to the massive hole at the top of the rotation left by the passing of Jose Fernandez, and the only consistent thing about them is that they have consistently struggled. Wei-Yin Chen hasn't pitched since May 1, held out due to an ongoing elbow issue. Adam Conley struggled to the tune of a 7.53 ERA before being demoted. Tom Koehler put up a 7.04 ERA, was demoted, then promptly put on the DL the following day with "right shoulder bursitis."

In their place, a cavalcade of former big leaguers trying to get a second (or third or fourth) crack: Odrisamer Despaigne, Vance Worley, Justin Nicolino, Jeff Locke. They have been largely ineffective. There have been some hope spots in the form of Jose Urena, who's been able to provide precious quality innings despite a 5.06 FIP that suggests some ugly is coming, and Dan Straily, whose extreme fly-ball tendencies have played well with a great outfield defense behind him. Lastly (but not leastly), Edinson Volquez has underwhelmed for much of the season but came up with an inspired no-hitter this past Saturday against the Diamondbacks, logging 10 strikeouts and two walks in the effort.

You couple the rotation with an inconsistent offense, some key "right side of the infield" injuries and a bullpen performing well below advertised (highest BB/9 in the majors), and you have the recipe for a perfectly good disaster. To be fair, they have played better as of late, going 8-2 over their last 10 games and winning seven of their last eight, perhaps showing some signs that they are going to be closer to the .500 ballclub Marlins fans thought they had a chance to be.

Given the struggles, perhaps more relevant than the play of the team is the supposed impending sale of the team by super popular swell fellow Jeffrey Loria. The entire organization could use a culture makeover. Cubs fans might know a little something about the effectiveness of that.

Series prediction: Marlins drop the first two but pick up a win in the third game, because I'll be there in person and my general good game mojo will play a factor.

Fun fact

Former Cubs minor leaguer Justin Bour is tied for the N.L. lead in home runs with 16. Four years ago, when he was 25 and repeating Double-A in the Cubs system, the chances of him having any sort of big-league career seemed to be pretty close to zero. The Marlins took a chance on him in the December 2013 Rule 5 draft and he’s produced. Credit to him for working hard and putting together a good major-league career, one of the better recent Rule 5 pickups by anyone.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Eddie Butler, RHP (2-1, 4.42 ERA, 1.582 WHIP, 4.36 FIP) vs. Dan Straily, RHP (4-3, 3.56 ERA, 1.121 WHIP, 3.82 FIP)

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-4, 4.60 ERA, 1.340 WHIP, 4.02 FIP) vs. Jeff Locke, LHP (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.529 WHIP, 0.58 FIP)

Wednesday: John Lackey, RHP (4-5, 4.90 ERA, 1.383 WHIP, 4.94 FIP) vs. Jose Urena, RHP (3-2, 3.80 ERA, 1.373 WHIP, 5.46 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

As Michael Bennett says in his portion of this preview, the Cubs should win two out of three. (I’m not sure his personal presence will make any difference, though.) The Butler/Straily pitching matchup is probably the least favorable to the Cubs. If they can win the series opener, good things should follow.

Up next

The Colorado Rockies, off to a great start this year, come to Wrigley Field for a four-game series beginning Thursday night.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    3
    (97 votes)
  • 51%
    2
    (126 votes)
  • 5%
    1
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (9 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now