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Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins preview, Sunday 6/20, 1:20 CT

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One win in this series. Is that too much to ask?

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Today's roster move: Here

There’s a chance of storms this afternoon, so here’s the Chicago-area radar to keep handy:

Sunday notes...

ICYMI: Late Saturday, the Brewers defeated the Rockies, so the Cubs open Sunday’s action tied for first place with Milwaukee. Both teams are three games ahead of the Reds, who lost in San Diego, and 3½ ahead of the Cardinals, who were rained out in Atlanta.

NEED MORE THAN HOME RUNS: The last 12 Cubs runs scored have come via the home run, including Jason Heyward’s homer Saturday. The team’s last run scored from anything other than a homer was June 13 vs. St. Louis when Anthony Rizzo drove in Joc Pederson with a third-inning single off Carlos Martinez.

NEED MORE RUNS, PERIOD: The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in each of their last seven games, scoring 14 runs total. The last time the team had a longer stretch with three or fewer runs scored was nine straight games from April 25-May 4, 2018. During that 2018 stretch the Cubs went 5-4. Over the current stretch of seven games, this year’s Cubs are 3-4.

PLEASE GET WILLSON SOME HELP: Dating to the start of the 2018 season, Willson Contreras’ 2,728⅔ innings caught are third-most in the majors behind only Yasmani Grandal (2,777⅔) and J.T. Realmuto (2,748).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Marlins lineup:

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Zach Thompson, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Alec Mills has not had much success this year, and also spent time on the injured list.

But that was then and this is now, and hopefully he can go at least five innings in this afternoon’s contest.

Here’s one possible cause for optimism today:

Mills, home games, 2021: 11⅓ innings. 3.18 ERA, 1.324 WHIP, 1 HR
Mills, road games, 2021: 16⅔ innings, 8.10 ERA, 1.680 WHIP, 3 HR

Mills has a career 3.88 ERA and 1.163 WHIP in 69⅔ innings at Wrigley Field, compared to a 5.08 ERA and 1.308 WHIP in 78 career innings NOT at Wrigley. His K rate at Wrigley is 8.8 per nine innings, away from Wrigley it’s 7.8 per nine innings.

Solution: Let him pitch only in home games! (Yes, I know this isn’t likely feasible. But it could bode well for this afternoon.)

Zach Thompson was the fifth-round pick of the White Sox in 2014 — the pick before the Cubs chose Justin Steele, FWIW. The Sox let him go as a six-year minor-league free agent after 2020 and he signed with the Marlins. Including his eight MLB innings this year, he has thrown 23 innings in competitive games since 2019.

Thompson is making his third major-league start. In those eight innings in the other two, he has allowed eight hits, a walk and two runs and struck out seven. He last pitched eight days ago and threw 66 pitches, so he’s likely going to be on a fairly short leash today, I’d think.

Per Fangraphs — and this isn’t much data, of course — he splits fairly evenly between his fastball (93 miles per hour), a cutter, and a changeup.

He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the Cubs’ active roster. You know how that generally works out for the Cubs.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. Chris Myers will join Jim Deshaies in the Marquee booth today to call play-by-play.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes. If you do go there to interact with Marlins fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.