Series Preview, TV info, and Prediction: Cubs vs. Marlins

by - Senior Writer -
Cubs hope to keep their lead in the division (Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)
Cubs hope to keep their lead in the division (Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)

The Cubs are coming off a challenging four-game set with the Mets in which they lost three of four. Now they return home to put one of the best home records in baseball on the line by welcoming in the Miami Marlins. At 10 games under .500, a lot of people may not take this Marlins team seriously. You would be foolish to think that as their starting pitching has the potential to give this lineup fits.

In case you forgot, the last time the Marlins saw this Cubs team was in the 2020 NL Wild Card Series played at Wrigley. Led by Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez, the Marlins were able to silence the Chicago bats as they out-pitched Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish for the two-game sweep. Chicago hasn't forgotten about that series, and they hope this weekend isn't a reminder of what last September was like.

Friday, June 18, 7:05 CDT PM on Marquee Sports Network: (TBD vs. Zach Davies 4-3 4.01 ERA 43K)

While the Marlins haven't officially announced a starter just yet, it does appear that Zach Thompson or Pablo Lopez would be the most likely options to this point. The Cubs, however, have named their starter as Davies will take the ball in the series opener.

Coming off another strong outing, Davies has now extended his winning streak to three consecutive starts, including having thrown back-to-back scoreless outings across 12 2/3 innings of work. His work since May 1 has been impressive, and he is starting to resemble the guy the Cubs hoped he would. Davies will have his work cut out for him on Friday, though, as the Marlins have given him fits. Davies may have a winning 3-2 record against them, but his 5.74 ERA across six starts is one of his worst ERA's against any opponent.

SATURDAY, June 19, 1:20 PM CDT on Marquee Sports Network: (Pablo Lopez 2-4 3.12 ERA 78K vs. Jake Arrieta 5-7 5.14 ERA 51K)

It does appear that Lopez is set to pitch Saturday, leaving Friday to Thompson. Record aside, as Lopez is just 2-4, but he has been impressive yet again this season. The hard-throwing right-hander has been one of the more consistent arms on the Marlins staff but was roughed up against the Braves last time, allowing four runs in three innings.

That was his shortest outing of the season, and Lopez will be looking to bounce back. Not only will he be looking to bounce back, but he will be facing the Cubs, who have only seen him once before. Given his high velocity and arsenal of pitches, it could be a long day for the hitters once again.

Happy to be back home, Arrieta will get the ball and is looking for his first win in his last five starts. During that span, Arrieta has gone 0-3, while his ERA has been a 7.27 in the process. A big reason for that has been his constant road struggles, as he cannot figure out how to win away from Wrigley.

Hoping to get back on track or at the very least deliver a quality start, the Marlins may be the perfect opponent for Arrieta. In his 12 career starts against Miami, Arrieta has posted an 8-1 record to go with a solid 3.35 ERA. He has kept their damage to a minimum but look for Jorge Alfaro and Starlin Marte to be the most significant threats in that lineup.

Sunday, June 20, 1:20 PM CDT on Marquee Sports Network: (Trevor Rodgers 7-3 1.98 ERA 95K vs. Alec Mills 2-1 6.11 ERA 21K)

While Sanchez and Alcantara may be considered the aces of the Marlins staff, Rodgers has pitched like an ace this year. The Southpaw continues to impress, ranking in the top five in the National League in ERA and top 10 in wins.

His 95 strikeouts have him ranked 17th, but his 28 walks show how great of command he has had this season. Rodgers is another breakout story we often hear about, as he is 21-21 with a 3.04 ERA. Before this season, he had posted a 6.11 ERA, so something is working in 2021. Look for the Cubs to try and attack him early before he can settle in and get comfortable.

Making just his third start of the season and second in place of the injured Adbert Alzolay will be Mills. This will be Mills 15th appearance of the season, and he is coming off an outing in which he allowed three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets. Given that we still don't know the future of Trevor Williams, Mills may find himself entrenched in this rotation for a while, even after Alzolay comes back.

Not only will this be his first career start against the Marlins, but his first career appearance as the ability to change speeds could hurt Miami. No one on the Marlins roster has seen Mills, so he may have a significant advantage the first time through.

Prediction: FLY THE W

The Cubs will not take Miami lightly, especially after what the Marlins did to them in the playoffs. However, I expect Miami's pitching to be a problem once again, as the Cubs need to capitalize when given a chance. Fortunately for them, they have a few pitchers going who have either been on a roll lately or have had plenty of success against this Miami team.

Not to mention playing in front of Max Capacity, and this will be the biggest crowd that Miami has had to deal with this season. The Cubs are the better team, but they were the better team last year when the loss. I like the Cubs chances to win this series, but they won't sweep as they continue to play at home, going 2-1.

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