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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

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The weather will be much better for this series than it was in Chicago last week.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins traded a lot of their good players off in the 2017-18 offseason. They lost 98 games in 2018, and then traded more of their good players. I wouldn’t expect a better season from them; for more on the Marlins, here’s Ely Sussman, managing editor of our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes:

The Marlins entered this season with real momentum from their rebrand, improved starting pitching depth and the influence of seasoned veterans in the clubhouse, but now, some anxiety is creeping in.

All of the positives are being overshadowed by the dearth of impact bats throughout the organization. The departure of J.T. Realmuto over the winter was supposed to be offset by the continued progression of Brian Anderson and Lewis Brinson, and the emergence of more top position player prospects. Unfortunately, the Marlins find themselves with arguably MLB’s weakest offense, severely lacking plate discipline and power. Also, the coaching staff hasn’t carried their aggressive baserunning philosophy from Spring Training into the regular season. It’s difficult to see a path for them to improve on last year’s 63-98 record if this continues (and that lack of progress would likely cost Don Mattingly his job).

Meanwhile, the rotation is legitimately solid for the first time in nearly a decade. Several of the unheralded relievers have impressed (though it’s past time for ownership to accept the sunk cost and release Wei-Yin Chen). Yes, Starlin Castro is still here! He has been the most consistent Marlin throughout the rebuild and avoided drama.

One particular player to focus on is Monday’s probable starter Trevor Richards; his changeup is worthy of every superlative with movement and results that rival anybody else’s, including the CubsKyle Hendricks. The Fish may need Richards to be at his best to avoid a sweep.

Fun fact

The Marlins are on their second uniform revamp in the last eight years. Their new colors are officially called Caliente Red, Miami Blue, Midnight Black and Slate Grey. And here’s why those were chosen:

“It differentiates the past, the present and the future,” said Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ chief executive officer. “I think it’s reflective of the Miami culture. We tried to capture the energy and diversity of Miami.”

Okay, that’s fine, but you try to read this name and number at a distance:

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Pitching matchups

Monday: Yu Darvish, RHP (0-2, 7.50 ERA, 1.917 WHIP, 7.73 FIP) vs. Trevor Richards, RHP (0-1, 2.00 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, 3.53 FIP)

Tuesday: Jose Quintana, LHP (1-1, 5.14 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 4.29 FIP) vs. Pablo Lopez, RHP (1-2, 6.60 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 3.21 FIP)

Wednesday: Cole Hamels, LHP (2-0, 3.79 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 4.09 FIP) vs. Sandy Alcantara, RHP (1-1, 4.24 ERA, 1.529 WHIP, 2.97 FIP)

Sunday’s postponement means that Tyler Chatwood stays in the bullpen for now, and the Cubs will go with a four-man rotation for a couple of weeks:

With upcoming days off next Thursday and April 22, the Cubs will go with a four-man rotation through April 27, or whenever Jon Lester returns from the injured list.

Times & TV channels

Monday: 6:10 p.m. CT, WGN

Tuesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Wednesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

The Cubs really ought to win at least two of three here, as the Marlins come into the series tied with the Rockies for the worst record in the major leagues (4-12). They have the worst run differential in the National League (-34) and have lost 10 of their last 12. As noted in Ely Sussman’s team preview, Trevor Richards has pitched pretty well for the Marlins (though with 10 walks in 18 innings!), so that could be the game the Marlins can take in this set.

Up next

As noted above, the Cubs have Thursday off. They then return to Wrigley Field for a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    3
    (154 votes)
  • 29%
    2
    (86 votes)
  • 11%
    1
    (34 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (16 votes)
290 votes total Vote Now