This is not the first time a Joe Maddon-managed team has done what this year’s Cubs have — go from a horrendous start and last place into first place in just a few weeks.
The 2011 Rays did the same thing. They began the season with a six-game losing streak and were 1-8 after nine, one game worse than the 2019 Cubs.
Then they started winning. Five in a row, one loss, three in a row, two losses, five in a row. (That’s 13-3, if you don’t want to add it up.)
After that they won eight of 13 — totaling a run of 21-8 — and were in first place alone after defeating the Indians on May 12. Sound familiar?
They wound up 91-71, the single A.L. wild card that year. They were eliminated in the division series by the Rangers, and obviously we hope this year’s Cubs go farther than that. But it’s clear that talented teams managed by Maddon can go on long winning runs like the Cubs are on now.
Let’s hope it continues! Now, on to tonight’s opponent.
The Miami Marlins might be a good team again someday, but right now, they are not.
Their 9-24 record projects to a 44-118 mark, and if you don’t think that’s possible, just ask the 2018 Baltimore Orioles.
When the Cubs faced the Marlins last month in Miami, they swept them, outscoring them 17-2, shutting them out twice. And the Marlins are a worse team on the road, where they are 3-9 (.250), have been outscored 60-26, and have scored more than four runs once in those 12 games (and that was in a 12-9 loss to the Phillies in which they trailed at one point 10-1).
As I noted in the series preview, it’s really hard to sweep four-game series. But if there’s any four-game set the Cubs could sweep, it’s this one.
Here are today’s particulars.
#Marlins lineup for tonight’s game vs. #Cubs:— Wells Dusenbury (@DuseReport) May 6, 2019
1) Miguel Rojas (SS)
2) Martin Prado (1B)
3) Brian Anderson (RF)
4) Jorge Alfaro (C)
5) Starlin Castro (2B)
6) Peter O’Brien (LF)
7) Jon Berti (3B)
8) Isaac Galloway (CF)
9) Sandy Alcantara (P)
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Cole Hamels, since his first start of the year in Texas: five starts, 2.27 ERA, 0.979 WHIP, 33 strikeouts in 31⅔ innings.
That five-start stretch includes seven shutout innings against the Marlins April 17 in Miami. He allowed three singles and struck out eight.
I don’t see any reason why Cole couldn’t do that again tonight.
Sandy Alcantara was Cole’s opponent in the April 17 game. He allowed seven hits and five runs in six innings, and in two starts since then: 4.35 ERA, 1.742 WHIP, seven (!) walks in 10⅓ innings, three (!) home runs.
This could be a good night for the Cubs.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago Plus. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.
SB Nation game preview
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The 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. Here’s how it works.
You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game’s StoryStream as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.