The Miami Marlins played with unlimited amounts of energy in their final two games against the St. Louis Cardinals last weekend. Miami failed to replicate that energy when they took on the MLB's best team, the Chicago Cubs, last night at Wrigley Field. Miami couldn't score a single run, and the Cubs roughed up the Marlins pitching staff for five runs. Miami now only has a 0.5 game lead over the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card.
The Marlins should hope that they jump out to an early lead, because the Cubs bullpen is now stacked with top quality relievers. Chicago added Aroldis Chapman and Joe Smith, which means if Miami doesn't have the lead in the later innings, they might have trouble digging themselves out of that hole.
However, the Marlins might not have to worry about that, as ace Jose Fernandez gets the start for Miami tonight. Fernandez is 12-5, with a 1.05 WHIP. He's also struck out 184 batters this year, which is good for second in the National League. Fernandez is a little bit different on the road, as he has a 3.86 ERA when pitching on the road.
|Team||Starter||ERA||FIP||2016 ZIPS Projected ERA|
The Cubs will counter with Jason Hammel, who is 10-5 this year with 97 strikeouts. Hammel is 2-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 appearances against the Marlins. He has allowed three or fewer runs in 17 starts this year. Most of the attention surrounding the Marlins is about Ichiro, who remains two hits away from joining the elusive 3,000 hit club. Ichiro would be the third player to reach the 3,000 hit club against the Cubs, (the other two were Stan Musial and Lou Brock with St. Louis.)
Bold Prediction: Ichiro gets another hit, as Marlins defeat Cubs 3-2
|MIAMI MARLINS||CHICAGO CUBS|
|J.T. Realmuto - C||Dexter Fowler - CF|
|Martin Prado - 3B||Willson Contreras - C|
|Christian Yelich - LF||Anthony Rizzo - 1B|
|Giancarlo Stanton - RF||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|Marcell Ozuna - CF||Jason Heyward - RF|
|Derek Dietrich - 2B||Addison Russell - SS|
|Chris Johnson - 1B||Chris Coghlan - LF|
|Adeiny Hechavarria - SS||Javier Baez - 3B|
|Jose Fernandez - RHP||Jason Hammel - RHP|