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Series Preview: Cubs Visit Miami

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The NL leading Chicago Cubs pay the Marlins a four-game visit at Marlins' Park in Miami, FL.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Thursday night at 7:10PM, the Marlins will host the Chicago Cubs for a four-game series at Marlins Park in Miami, FL. This is the first time the Marlins and the Cubs have got together this season. They'll play a three-game series in Wrigley Field starting on August 1st.

The last time Miami played the Cubs was last season, from July 3rd through July 5th, when the Marlins lost two-of-three in Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks won the last one for Chicago, 2-0 by going 7.1 innings, allowing five hits, and striking out six. Matt Latos went seven innings for the Fish, giving up a single hit and two walks while striking out seven and taking a hard-luck loss.

For more on the Cubs, check out Bleed Cubbie Blue

Miami's last series would see the Marlins earn a two-game split against the Atlanta Braves. Adam Conley pitched eight innings and took the win yesterday, giving up four hits and striking out four. AJ Ramos pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save in 23 chances this season. Justin Bour hit his 12th round-tripper of the season, a two-run blast in the second inning. It was all the Marlins would need in the 3-0 victory.

You can read up on the Braves at Talking Chop

The Cubs just completed a three-game home series against the St. Louis Cardinals, getting swept for the first time this season in the process. Yesterday's game would see the Cardinals win by a 7-2 final score, as Jake Arrieta (11-2, 1.74) took the loss by giving up two runs (one earned) over five innings, striking out six. Cardinal pitching limited the Cubbies to three hits.

Vivaelbirdos.com has St. Louis Cardinal news.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Thursday, first pitch 7:10PM

Jon Lester (9-3, 2.06) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 5.22)

Friday, first pitch 7:10PM

Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 2.94) vs. Tom Koehler (6-6, 3.92)

Saturday, first pitch 4:10PM

Jon Lackey (7-3, 2.78) vs. Paul Clemens (0-0, 5.40)

Sunday, first pitch 1:10PM

Jason Hammel (7-3, 2.55) vs. Jose Fernandez (9-3, 2.36)

All-Time Head-to-Head: Miami has a .500 record all-time against the Cubs, winning 89 and losing 89 over their 24 season history.

On This Date

Miami is 9-11 on July 23rd, including a 1-1 record against the Cubs.

Standings

Miami Marlins: 38-34, .528, on pace for 86-76. Third in the NL East, five games behind the Washington Nationals, seventh in the NL, 13th in the major leagues. Last Five: W-W-L-L-W Playoff Odds: 19.9%

Chicago Cubs: 47-23, .671, on pace for 109-53. First in the NL Central, 9.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, first in the NL, first in the major leagues. Last Five: W-W-L-L-L Playoff Odds: 99.6%

Injuries

Miami Marlins

UPDATED PLAYER POS INJURY EXPECTED RETURN
06/21/16 Stone Garrett CF Hand Expected to be out until at least Jul 1
06/20/16 Jarred Cosart SP Oblique Expected to be out until at least Jul 1
06/20/16 Kendry Flores SP Shoulder Expected to be out until at least Jun 23
06/16/16 Nefi Ogando RP Ribs Expected to be out until at least Jun 25
05/31/16 Bryan Morris RP Back Expected to be out until at least Sep 1
04/29/16 Dee Gordon 2B Suspension Suspended until Jul 28
04/10/16 Carter Capps RP Elbow Out for the season
04/07/16 Tyler Kolek SP Elbow Out for the season

Chicago Cubs

UPDATED PLAYER POS INJURY EXPECTED RETURN
06/22/16 Miguel Montero C Knee Probable for Jun 23
06/22/16 Anthony Rizzo 1B Back Probable for Jun 23
06/21/16 Clayton Richard RP Hand Expected to be out until at least Jul 6
06/20/16 Dexter Fowler CF Hamstring Expected to be out until at least Jul 4
06/19/16 Dallas Beeler SP Elbow Expected to be out until at least Jun 26
06/17/16 Aaron Brooks SP Hip Expected to be out until at least Jun 30
06/17/16 Christian Villanueva 3B Ankle Expected to be out until at least Jun 30
06/09/16 Tommy La Stella 3B Hamstring Expected to be out until at least Jun 24
06/07/16 Jorge Soler LF Hamstring Expected to be out until at least Jun 25
06/02/16 Aaron Crow RP Elbow Expected to be out until at least Jul 2
05/17/16 Joe Nathan RP Elbow Expected to be out until at least Jul 1
05/13/16 Andury Acevedo RP Knee Out for the season
05/13/16 Zac Rosscup RP Shoulder Expected to be out until at least Aug 15
04/11/16 Kyle Schwarber LF Knee Out for the season
03/23/16 Jack Leathersich RP Elbow Expected to be out until at least Sep 30

Injury Report courtesy of cbssports.com

Common Thread

Miami outfielder Cole Gillespie played 25 games for the 2013 Cubs, hitting .240 with four RBI.

Chicago outfielder Chris Coghlan played five seasons with the Marlins, hitting .270 with 21 homers and 117 RBI over 393 games. He was the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year while with the team.

Here's Bleed Cubbie Blue head honcho Al Yellon with a few fun facts about the Cubs:

You've probably heard a lot about the Cubs this year as they have rampaged through baseball with MLB's best record through 70 games. It's the Cubs' best start since 1977, when they were 47-22, only to finish at exactly .500 (and, as we often ruefully joke, had to lose their last five games to do that). This year's Cubs are far better than the 1977 bunch and won't collapse like that. They are led by a starting rotation that's lapping the field; Cubs starters have a 2.39 ERA -- that's nearly a full run better than the next-best N.L. team, the Mets (3.23). You won't see Jake Arrieta in this series, but Thursday's starter Jon Lester has been nearly as good as Arrieta; he's got a 1.24 ERA over his last five starts with 40 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. All five Cubs starters have ERA's under 3 and the Cubs are one of just two teams (Cardinals the other) who have used only five starting pitchers this season. Offensively, the club is missing a key element right now with leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler on the DL with a hamstring issue. He's been capably replaced in the field by rookie Albert Almora Jr., but the team's scoring has suffered (just seven runs in the last series, a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals). Another rookie, Willson Contreras, was recently called up to bolster the team behind the plate. He homered in his first major-league at-bat and has been solid defensively.

You've probably heard a lot about the Cubs this year as they have rampaged through baseball with MLB's best record through 70 games. It's the Cubs' best start since 1977, when they were 47-22, only to finish at exactly .500 (and, as we often ruefully joke, had to lose their last five games to do that). This year's Cubs are far better than the 1977 bunch and won't collapse like that. They are led by a starting rotation that's lapping the field; Cubs starters have a 2.39 ERA -- that's nearly a full run better than the next-best N.L. team, the Mets (3.23). You won't see Jake Arrieta in this series, but Thursday's starter Jon Lester has been nearly as good as Arrieta; he's got a 1.24 ERA over his last five starts with 40 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. All five Cubs starters have ERA's under 3 and the Cubs are one of just two teams (Cardinals the other) who have used only five starting pitchers this season. Offensively, the club is missing a key element right now with leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler on the DL with a hamstring issue. He's been capably replaced in the field by rookie Albert Almora Jr., but the team's scoring has suffered (just seven runs in the last series, a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals). Another rookie, Willson Contreras, was recently called up to bolster the team behind the plate. He homered in his first major-league at-bat and has been solid defensively.


The rest of the Cubs offense has been solid, led by Anthony Rizzo (third in the N.L. with 54 RBI), Kris Bryant (league-leading 52 runs) and Ben Zobrist (third in the N.L. with a .413 OBP). The team's run differential is +164, 92 runs better than any other team in the league. Where the Cubs need to retool a bit is in their bullpen. They recently shook up the back end and added a couple of relievers who had been in Triple-A (Spencer Patton and Gerardo Concepcion), replacing the ineffective and/or injured Adam Warren and Clayton Richard.


I can't say I much enjoy watching the Cubs play at Marlins Park. Since the new ballpark opened in 2012, the Cubs are just 6-7 there and lost two of three in 2015. Hoping for better things this time around. in 2015. Hoping for better things this time around.

Thanks Al!


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