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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

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The Cubs return home to open a three-game set against Miami.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The last time we saw the Marlins, they were sweeping the Cubs out of the 2020 Wild Card Series, two games where the Cubs’ offense went MIA.

Enough of that, on to this weekend. For more on the Marlins, here’s Ely Sussman, managing editor of our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes:

The Marlins have all but waved the white flag on their 2021 season. Wednesday’s loss to the Cardinals was the most transparent sign of that to date as Don Mattingly declined to use his two most effective hitters, Starling Marte and Jesús Aguilar, in a tie game, relying wholly on an amalgamation of prospects and fringy journeymen. After a stellar first quarter of the season, Miami’s bullpen has been untrustworthy in close games, perhaps worn down because the back end of the starting rotation continues to be wrecked by injuries, and the offense was never good enough to begin with. Despite a positive run differential overall, the Fish find themselves a season-worst 10 games below .500.

With all that said, this is shaping up to be a fun weekend at Wrigley. Miami’s starting shortstop and emotional leader, Miguel Rojas, is ready to be activated from the injured list, shifting Jazz Chisholm Jr. back to second base, his most comfortable position. The “mini-vacations” that Marte, Aguilar and Adam Duvall have been on since Tuesday night could pay dividends. Sandy Alcantara’s complete-game effort on Wednesday kept every reliever fresh. Don’t be stunned if the Marlins win two of the three games.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 108-98 all-time against the Marlins, 58-48 at Wrigley Field... except in the postseason, where they’re 3-6 vs. the Marlins, 1-5 at Wrigley.

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Zach Davies, RHP (4-3, 4.01 ERA, 1.470 WHIP, 4.30 FIP) vs. Zach Thompson, RHP (1-1, 2.25 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.79 FIP)

Saturday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-7, 5.14 ERA, 1.460 WHIP, 5.45 FIP) vs. Pablo Lopez, RHP (2-4, 3.12 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 3.42 FIP)

Sunday: Alec Mills, RHP (2-1, 6.11 ERA, 1.536 WHIP, 5.23 FIP) vs. TBD

NOTE: As of the time of this post, the Marlins had not announced a starter for Friday’s game. I’ve posted Thompson based on this tweet from Fish Stripes:

Also from Fish Stripes, re: Sunday:

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Chris Myers will call play-by-play on Marquee for all three games this weekend.

Prediction

These pitching matchups are not ideal, but the Marlins have been in free-fall, as noted by Ely Sussman. The Cubs play very well at home (24-10, six straight home wins, seven of their last eight, 11 of their last 13) and the Marlins are 13-25 on the road and have lost 11 of their last 12 road games.

If the Cubs don’t win at least two of these three I’ll be very disappointed.

Up next

The Cubs host Cleveland for two games at Wrigley Field, Monday and Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    3
    (64 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (87 votes)
  • 13%
    1
    (25 votes)
  • 4%
    0
    (9 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now