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Marlins 3, Cubs 0: A tip o’ the cap to the other guy

Sometimes, the other team has a really good pitching performance. Credit to the Marlins today.

This was basically the only Cubs highlight of the afternoon
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I looked this up because it’s relevant to today’s Cubs game, a 3-0 loss to the Marlins.

I wondered, “How do teams do, in general, when they have a starter go six innings and allow six hits and three runs, all earned?”

That counts as a quality start, for whatever that flawed stat is worth, and apart from three hard-hit balls in the fifth inning that accounted for all of the Miami runs, Adrian Sampson threw pretty well in this one, I thought.

So I went back to 2018 to have a fairly large sample size. Since 2018, 147 starting pitchers have had that precise stat line.

Of those 147 games, those pitchers’ teams won 68 times, or 46.3 percent of the time, a little less than half, that’d be a 75-win season.

Sounds about right, I’d say, and it’s especially difficult when your team doesn’t score any runs.

So, as the headline says, a tip o’ the cap to Marlins lefthander Jesus Luzardo, who stymied Cubs batters on just one hit through seven innings.

The hit was by Yan Gomes with two out in the fifth, and I can’t show it to you because it’s not part of the video highlight package I have access to and no one seems to have sent it out on Twitter. That’s how insignificant it seemed. The Cubs had two other baserunners off Luzardo, Seiya Suzuki reaching on an error in the first and Patrick Wisdom drawing a walk in the seventh.

Like I said, Sampson threw pretty well, except for three straight batters who hit him hard in the fifth, double, home run, home run, and that was that. This sums up Sampson (and the Cubs’ current rotation):

This, of course, leaves out Kyle Hendricks and an assortment of other motley starting outings that, trust me, you do not want me to mention. But, y’know, the current five starters have done reasonably well. Is it a playoff team rotation? No, but there are guys in it who could be starters on that “Next Great Cubs Team” we all keep hearing about.

The Cubs also got good relief outings from Kervin Castro, Sean Newcomb and Anderson Espinoza in this game (three innings, two hits, no runs, two walks, two strikeouts) and one or two of those guys might be useful bullpen pieces going forward.

Here is the one Cubs highlight I have to show you, Yan Gomes throwing out Luke Williams trying to steal second in the fifth [VIDEO].

Nice tag there by Nick Madrigal, too.

Our old friend Billy Hamilton, now a Marlin, started in center field and batted ninth. Cubs pitchers struck him out four times — even with all the K’s in Hamilton’s career, that was just the fourth time he’d struck out four times in a game. So there’s that.

The Cubs did win two of three, and if they can keep that up against the bad teams they’re facing over the next 10 days or so, at least the concept of “100 losses” for this team might disappear.

Oh, yes, the weather. It rained, hard, for a while before the scheduled start time and dire forecasts had it raining all afternoon. It finally stopped around 1:30 and they started 56 minutes late, which wasn’t too bad, and with the late start the game time of 2:36 was appreciated. It was the third-fastest nine-inning game played at Wrigley Field this year.

They’ll open a series against the Washington Nationals Monday evening at Wrigley Field. Keegan Thompson will start for the Cubs and Anibal Sanchez will go for Washington. Game time — again, weather permitting — is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.