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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

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Hey, look! The Cubs meet another sub-.500 team.

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Cubs lost two of three to the Marlins at Wrigley Field in mid-June... before the selloff.

Since that selloff, you know the Cubs have not been good. But neither have the Marlins — they are 17-27 since that series and have lost 10 of their last 14.

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

Run producer Jesús Aguilar still locks down first base for the Marlins and Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisholm Jr. comprise the middle infield, but practically everything else about the Fish has changed from when they previously met the Cubs in June. Miami’s starting rotation and outfield have been thinned by injuries, trades, illnesses and personal crises. This once-fundamentally sound team is committing routine errors at the highest rate in the majors. The franchise’s longest-tenured manager ever, Don Mattingly, was sidelined for two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, they just endured one of their season’s longest losing streaks on the most recent road trip.

On the bright side, Mattingly is preparing to rejoin the team for this Cubs series. Lewis Brinson is finally resembling the type of player that the Marlins thought they traded for at the start of their rebuild. The bullpen is still deep and the offense has adopted a “let’s make things happen” identity, attempting stolen bases at an extremely high rate since the All-Star break.

This weekend, the Marlins’ focus will be on evaluating their own post-hype players like Brinson, Jorge Alfaro and recently acquired Jesús Luzardo. The front office has lots of prospect depth and financial flexibility to use this offseason to make the team competitive for 2022. Individual player performances during these dog days of summer will go a long toward determining how exactly those resources get used.

Fun fact

The Marlins have two former Cubs in their bullpen: Dylan Floro and Anthony Bass. They have combined for a 3.32 ERA and 1.276 WHIP in 89⅓ innings, with 82 strikeouts. They are making a combined $3.975 million this year. That’d probably play in next year’s Cubs bullpen.

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-12, 4.71 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 5.03 FIP) vs. Jesús Luzardo, LHP (3-5, 7.36 ERA, 1.678 WHIP, 5.98 FIP overall. With Miami: two games, 9.31 ERA, 1.862 WHIP, 5.55 FIP)

Saturday: Zach Davies, RHP (6-9, 5.26 ERA, 1.570 WHIP, 5.13 FIP) vs. TBD

Sunday: Alec Mills, RHP (5-4, 4.27 ERA, 1.409 WHIP, 4.13 FIP) vs. Zach Thompson, RHP (2-5, 3.09 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 3.77 FIP)

We seem to be getting a lot of “TBD” pitchers lately.

Times & TV channels

Friday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 5:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 12:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

Too bad this series isn’t at Wrigley. The Marlins are 21-40 on the road. On the other hand, the Cubs will certainly enjoy playing three games without having to worry about the weather.

The pitching matchups aren’t too bad, so maybe the Cubs can steal one of these three games from a team almost as bad as they are right now.

Up next

The Cubs head to Cincinnati for a three-game series against the Reds beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    3
    (8 votes)
  • 15%
    2
    (21 votes)
  • 52%
    1
    (72 votes)
  • 26%
    0
    (36 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now