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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

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The Cubs swept the Marlins in Miami last month and the Miami team has not improved since then.

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Marlins are having a rough go of it in the early part of the 2019 season. This should not surprise you after they finished trading off nearly all their useful veteran players.

For more on the Marlins, here’s Ely Sussman, managing editor of our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes.

The Marlins were convincingly swept by the Cubs when these teams met in Miami last month, but there’s hope for a more competitive series this time around! That’s because emerging ace Caleb Smith will make a start. Put simply, he is the best pitcher that the franchise has had since José Fernández, with three plus weapons and command of each of them. KKKKKKKaleb can take one step closer to solidifying his All-Star case by dominating a dangerous lineup on the road.

Other than that, the Marlins are going through a humbling stretch. Lewis Brinson, who had been hyped as the most talented young player acquired during their rebuild, was optioned to Triple-A this past week. Brinson’s lack of plate discipline and issues with pitch recognition make him an appropriate poster child for Miami’s offense, which ranks among the worst in Major League Baseball even once you adjust for ballpark factors. Several impact bats expect to come up through the farm system later this summer. In the meantime, the active roster is populated with high-character/low-upside journeyman types.

Generally, Derek Jeter and new Marlins ownership have been unfairly ripped for the failures of Jeffrey Loria’s regime. However, it was concerning to see them part ways with president of business operations Chip Bowers on Thursday, who was handpicked in early 2018 to be a key figure in their rebrand and local sponsorship initiatives. Just as it looked like the franchise was entering a stable, drama-free phase and building momentum, there is some renewed anxiety about which direction they’re heading.

Fun fact

Since August 1, 2016 the Cubs are 15-5 against the Marlins, including 8-1 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have won the last six meetings between the two clubs, dating to May 7, 2018.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Sandy Alcantara, RHP (1-3, 4.86 ERA, 1.560 WHIP, 4.32 FIP) vs. Cole Hamels, LHP (3-0, 3.19 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 3.61 FIP)

Tuesday: Caleb Smith, LHP (3-0, 2.00 ERA, 0.833 WHIP, 2.81 FIP) vs. Jon Lester, LHP (2-1, 1.73 ERA, 0.962 WHIP, 3.38 FIP)

Wednesday: Jose Urena, RHP (1-5, 5.45 ERA, 1.538 WHIP, 4.95 FIP) vs. Kyle Hendricks, RHP (2-4, 3.93 ERA, 1.427 WHIP, 3.41 FIP)

Thursday: Trevor Richards, RHP (0-4, 4.10 ERA, 1.313 WHIP, 4.98 FIP) vs. Yu Darvish, RHP (2-3, 5.79 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 6.82 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago Plus

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

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

Thursday: 1:20 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

As noted above, the Cubs have won eight of the last nine games against the Marlins at Wrigley Field and six straight overall. It’s hard to sweep four-game series, so I’ll call for three of four.

Up next

The Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    4
    (126 votes)
  • 56%
    3
    (209 votes)
  • 5%
    2
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (10 votes)
370 votes total Vote Now