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Cubs earn wire-to-wire win vs. Marlins on Jackie Robinson Day

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Lots of hit batsmen and free passes for both teams in the sloppy series opener.

Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

With their 7-2 loss to the Cubs on Monday night, the Marlins dropped to 4-13 on the young season. They now have sole possession of the worst record in Major League Baseball. Burdened with a stagnant offense and overtaxed bullpen, there isn’t much reason to expect a change in their fortunes anytime soon.

Yu Darvish: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (96 pitches)

Trevor Richards: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K (96 pitches)

All on-field personnel wore uniform No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson on the 72nd anniversary of his MLB debut. The league-wide holiday is particularly special for the Marlins, whose black executives—CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill—fully grasp how Robinson’s determination created opportunities for them.

Veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson celebrated the occasion by inviting 42 young kids to the game.

Not long after the first pitch, right-hander Trevor Richards found himself in a jam. He loaded the bases, then walked in a run on a borderline pitch to put the Fish behind 1-0. David Bote followed with a two-run double, which would prove to be all the run production that the Cubs needed.

Richards didn’t seem to have the usual feel for his signature changeup in this matchup, so he shied away from it. The right-hander had been using it 39.2% of the time thus far in 2019, but that usage dropped to 27.1% against the Cubs with only a few swing-and-misses.

Chad Wallach—filling in behind the plate as Jorge Alfaro (ribs) took another precautionary game off—kept things interesting. He settled down Richards the second time through Chicago’s lineup, then brought the Marlins to within a run on a no-doubt solo homer:

But the Cubs tacked on insurance in the fifth. Richards put on too much traffic with his lack of control, and his middle infielders poured gas on the fire.

Drew Steckenrider allowed his fourth home run in only eight innings of work.

Despite excellent stretches from Steck early last season, his job security is quickly eroding.

Don Mattingly made the bizarre call to use Wei-Yin Chen for the final two frames. It was his first time working on zero days’ rest as a major leaguer. Arguably his best outing of 2019, Chen surrendered one run on three hits, “improving” to a 18.00 ERA. Most importantly, the lefty’s effort allowed Miami’s high-leverage relievers to fully recuperate from the 14-inning game on Sunday.

Here is Mattingly’s postgame presser addressing the poor situational hitting (0-for-7 with runners in scoring position):

On a positive note, all four Marlins full-season MiLB affiliates were victorious. In case you missed it, Thomas Hall has the minor league report covering this past week.

Back at it again on Tuesday night (7:10 p.m. first pitch). José Quintana and Pablo López are the probable starters.

Cubs vs. Marlins box score (MLB.com)

Win probability chart
FanGraphs

Fish Picks answer key

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