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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Marlins series preview

The Cubs face an N.L. East team for the first time in 2023.

Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images

The Marlins are 13-13, which isn’t bad. But their “expected” record based on runs scored and allowed is 9-17, which is in fact bad. This is largely because they’ve lost games 11-1, 15-3 and 11-0, which accounts for 33 runs of their -38 run differential.

On the other hand, they rank 28th in runs scored with just 85, or 3.3 per game. Thus if the Cubs can pitch well this weekend, they should win some games. (Comparison point: The Cubs have scored 40 more runs, 135 total, in two fewer games.)

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

Entering the final year of her contract, there was pressure on general manager Kim Ng to meaningfully improve the Marlins major league roster. The early returns on that? Mixed.

Trades that Ng’s front office executed over the winter are paying immediate dividends. Luis Arraez is the frontrunner to win another batting title. A.J. Puk and Matt Barnes have fortified a great bullpen, one that doesn’t leap off the page by conventional stats, but has dominated in high-leverage situations (zero blown saves as of Tuesday).

The lingering question is whether the Marlins lineup has enough depth to keep the club on the fringes of the postseason picture. Catchers Jacob Stallings and Nick Fortes are both OPS-ing in the .400s. Ditto for Jean Segura, who is hitting everything on the ground. Apparently, Avisaíl García’s contract obligates the Marlins to bat him in the heart of the order, because his production since joining the club certainly does not. Despite perennially losing 90-plus games and getting access to high-end amateur talent, Miami has had minimal success developing homegrown hitters, so there aren’t exciting alternatives to call up and supplant the struggling veterans.

The current vibes surrounding the Marlins are relatively positive thanks to their proficiency in one-run games. However, it’s unrealistic to rely on rookie manager Skip Schumaker to always push the right buttons. I’m skeptical of this club being a serious threat in the National League.

Fun fact

The Cubs’ all-time record at Miami is 52-54. That is their second-best performance at any National League city. They are 129-123 at San Diego. The Cubs have won 17 series at Miami, lost 14 and split 3. They have swept six series, most recently in 2019, and been swept in seven, most recently in 2021. Last year, they did not visit Miami until September 19, when they took two of three. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (2-2, 2.17 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 3.84 FIP) vs. Jesus Luzardo, LHP (2-1, 3.62 ERA, 1.390 WHIP, 3.54 FIP)

Saturday: TBD vs. Edward Cabrera, RHP (1-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.773 WHIP, 5.67 FIP)

Sunday: Justin Steele, LHP (4-0, 1.19 ERA, 0.890 WHIP, 3.39 FIP) vs. Bryan Hoeing, RHP (0-1, 9.82 ERA, 2.182 WHIP, 3.90 FIP)

NOTE: While there has been no official announcement from the Cubs at the time this series preview posted, indications are that Caleb Kilian will be called up from Triple-A Iowa to start Saturday’s game.

Times & TV channels

Friday: 5:35 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 3:05 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

Sunday: 11:05 a.m. CT, Peacock (how to watch)


The pitching matchups look generally favorable here. The Cubs should take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Washington to play a four-game series against the Nationals which begins Monday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Marlins?

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