Thursday, April 25, 2024
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MLB Preview: Miami Marlins (16-16) at Chicago Cubs (15-16)

MIAMI MARLINS NOTES:

MARLINS MINUTE
The Marlins today play the first game of three-game series at Wrigley Field as they embark on a six-game road trip. Just completed a six-game homestand yesterday in which they swept a three-game series against the Cubs before a day off on Monday and suffered a three-game sweep against the Braves from Tues-Thurs.

• After starting the year 1-4, the Marlins have gone 15-12 since.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP
Miami dropped their third straight to the Braves in a 6-3 loss. DH Jorge Soler (3×5) drove in all 3 runs with a 2-run homer and an RBI double. SS Jon Berti (3×5) had 3 singles, stole a base and scored a run. LHP Jesus Luzardo started and took the loss, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in 5.2 innings of work.

FRIDAY, I’M IN LOVE
The Marlins are 3-1 on Fridays this year. Additionally, have won four of their last six series openers.

DAY DREAMING
The Marlins are in the midst of playing four consecutive day game from May 4-7. Marks their longest stretch of daytime starts since playing five in-a-row from May 28-June 1 last year, which included a straight doubleheader in Colorado.

SOLER POWER
DH Jorge Soler connected for three hits in yesterday’s loss vs. Atlanta, each with impressive exit velocities: first AB – 114.8 mph (HR); second AB – 112.6 mph (2B); third AB – 111.3 mph (1B). Marked three of the five hardest hit balls in the game. the two-run homer was the sixth-hardest hit ball by a National Leaguer this season (13th hardest in MLB). This season, Soler is averaging a 93.0 mph exit velocity on his hits, seventh highest in the NL, while his 17.9% barrel pct. is eighth highest among NL players.

SWEEPING FEELING
The Marlins this homestand swept three games vs the Cubs then were swept in three games vs. the Braves. Marked the first time Miami swept a series and then immediately got swept in the next series (each of which were at least 3 games) since Aug. 13-18, 2021 when it happened against the same two teams. 3-0 vs the Cubs and 0-3 vs. the Braves during a six-game homestand.

BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS
The Marlins have homered in each of their last two games after enduring a five-game homerless stretch. OF Jesus Sanchez’s seventh inning home run in Wednesday’s loss vs. Atlanta was the Marlins’ first home run since April 26 at Atlanta when the team hit solo home runs in three consecutive innings (second-fourth). Snapped a stretch of 56 consecutive homerless innings for the club.

GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS
2B Luis Arraez leads MLB with his .424 batting avg. (42×99) and .482 on-base pct., ranks 3rd with 42 hits, t-4th with 12 multi-hit games, and 7th with his 1.039 OPS. Is coming off of the best April in club history, setting club history with his .438 avg. and .500 on-base pct. in 23 gms, becoming one of only two Marlins players to own a .400 avg. entering May (also, Dee Strange-Gordon, .409 in 2015).

• Trails Dee Strange-Gordon (52, 2015), Martin Prado (43, 2016), and Mike Lowell (43, 2002) for the most hits in club history by a Marlins player through their first 28 gms of a season.

• Became the first player to finish the month of April with a batting average of .435 or better and an OBP of .500 or better since Barry Bonds (.472 AVG and .696 OBP) in 1994 (min: 50 AB) – courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.

• His .424 batting avg. is the highest through 28 gms into a season for any Major Leaguer since Ryan Zimmerman’s .433 mark to start the 2017 season with Washington.

• Has struck out 5 times in 112 PA (.045 K/PA), the lowest mark in MLB among qualified batters.

WINNING START
The Marlins’ 15 wins in the month of April tied the second-best mark in franchise history (also; 1997, 2004, 2008) and marked the most wins in April since the team moved to Miami (club record set of 16 April wins set in 2011).

• Miami secured a winning record in April for a second straight year – prior to last year’s April, the Marlins had not had winning record in April since 2016. Marks the first time the Marlins recorded back-to-back seasons of winning records in April since the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

ONE-RUN WONDERS
The Marlins are 10-0 in one-run games in 2023, marking the most consecutive wins in games decided by one run to start a season in franchise history. Are the only team yet to lose a one-run game this season.

• Marks the most consecutive wins in games decided by one-run to start a season since the 2004 Los Angeles Dodgers also went 10-0. The last team to start a season with a better stretch in such games was the 1972 New York Mets, who own the all-time record (courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau).

• Miami played 64 games decided by one run in 2022, the most such games in the Majors last season. Miami’s 40 one-run losses were the most in a season in club history, the most since the 1975 Astros (41), and just three shy of the single-season record for one-run losses during the Live Ball Era (since 1920) held by the 1968 White Sox (44).

JAZZ HANDS
CF Jazz Chisholm Jr. has stolen 11 bases this season (in 13 attempts), leading the team and tying for fourth in MLB behind only Ronald Acuña Jr. (15), Ji Hwan Bae (13) and Esteury Ruiz (13). HIs 11 steals in April tied the club record for most steals in the month of April (also, Luis Castillo, 1997).

• In his last 9 G, is batting .313 (10×32) with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, and 4 SB. Prior to this stretch, was hitting .207 (17×82).

DANCING ON A THIN LINE
Thus far in 2023, Miami is 15-0 when limiting opponents to 4 runs or less and has gone 1-16 when allowing 5 or more runs.

CATCH US IF YOU CAN
The Marlins have stolen 28 bases this season, seventh most in the Majors (third in NL). Have been caught just six times, the fifth-best SB pct. in the NL (82.4%) behind the Braves (88.9%), Mets (83.9%), DBacks (83.9%), and Pirates (83.0%).

WIN-DY CITY
The Marlins are facing the Cubs just a week after sweeping them in a three-game series in Miami. During the 2020 COVID-shortened season, the Marlins swept the Cubs in a best-of-three Wild Card series at Wrigley Field. Beginning with those two games, the Marlins have won 12 of the last 17 meetings between these two teams.

TODAY’S STARTER – #27 EDWARD CABRERA
• Edward Cabrera, 25, will make his fourth career start against the Cubs and seventh start of the season tomorrow.

• Will mark his second consecutive outing against the Cubs, facing them last Saturday at loanDepot park. Struck out a career-high 12 batters, surpassing his previous high of 9. Allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 5.0 innings with 5 walks.

• Became the second pitcher in club history to record 12 strikeouts in a start that only went 5.0 innings. The other was Jesus Luzardo on Apr. 12, 2022 at LAA.

• Will make his second career start at Wrigley Field. Tossed 5.0 no-hit innings on Aug. 5, 2022 in his first start back from injury.

• In 7 starts at home in 2022, went 3-3 with a 4.58 ERA (35.1 IP/18 ER). Posted a 1.49 ERA (36.1 IP/6 ER) in 7 starts away, allowing 10 less hits than at home.

• Lefties are hitting .188 (9×48) vs. Cabrera in 2023 with 2 home runs and 13 strikeouts while righties are hitting .286 (10×35) with 1 home run and 11 strikeouts.

• Walked a combined 13 batters in his first 2 starts of 2023. Has walked 12 in last 4 outings.

• Made 14 starts at the Major League level last year after being recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville on May 31, 2022. Was named to MLB.com’s All-Rookie Second Team.

• In 7 starts at home in 2022, went 3-3 with a 4.58 ERA (35.1 IP/18 ER). Posted a 1.49 ERA (36.1 IP/6 ER) in 7 starts away, allowing 10 less hits than at home.

CHICAGO CUBS NOTES:

Cubs vs. Marlins
The Cubs and Marlins play six games spanning two series this season … the clubs met in Miami last weekend, with the Marlins sweeping the three-game set … dating to 2016, the Cubs have won four of the last five regular season series against Miami.

HOME, AT LAST: The Chicago Cubs today return home for a six-game homestand against Miami (3 G) and St. Louis (3 G beginning Monday) … Chicago yesterday wrapped up a seven-game road trip by dropping a 4-3 contest to Washington on an Alex Call walk-off home run, the club’s third walk-off loss of the season.

Chicago is 2-7 in one-run games this season, including five one-run losses on the just-completed trip … the Cubs’ seven losses in one-run games are tied for the fourth-most in the MLB, while their .222 winning percentage (2-7) is second-lowest in MLB, ahead of only St. Louis (1-5, .167).

The Cubs went 10-3 in 13 games from April 4-19, but have gone 4-10 in their last 14 dating to April 20 … Chicago is now under .500 for the season (15-16) for the first time since finding itself at 2-3 following play on April 4.

Today is the eighth game (1-6) of a stretch that sees the team on the road for 16 of 22 contests through May 21.

MAN OF STEELE: Today’s Cubs starter Justin Steele has allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last 13 starts dating to July 22 of last season, having posted a 1.23 ERA (8 ER/67.0 IP), the lowest ERA in the majors during the run (min. 13 GS).

Steele’s run of 13-straight starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed are the longest by a Cubs since Jake Arrieta did so in 14 consecutive outings from July 30, 2015-April 4, 2016.

SAVED BY THE BELL-INGER: Cody Bellinger since April 4 has hit .337 (31-for-92) with 23 runs, six doubles, a triple, six home runs, and 14 RBI in his last 24 games, reaching safely in 22 of those contests … has scored a run in 17 of his last 21 games.

Since April 4, Bellinger’s 1.020 OPS is fourth among N.L. qualified hitters, while his .620 slugging mark is fifth.

WHAT A RELIEF: Javier Assad tossed 5.0 scoreless innings in relief in yesterday’s game in Washington, allowing two hits, while walking none and striking out one.

Assad became the first Cubs reliever since Marcos Mateo (June 30, 2011 vs. San Francisco) to toss at least 5.0 scoreless innings, while allowing two or fewer hits and walking none.

IT’S TIME TO MASH: The Chicago Cubs today promoted No. 6 prospect Matt Mervis from Triple-A Iowa … Mervis looks to make his major league debut with his first appearance.

Mervis aims to become the second Cub to make his major league debut this season (also MIguel Amaya).

The left-handed hitting first baseman is batting .286 (26-for-91) with seven doubles, six home runs, 27 RBI and a .962 OPS in 24 games with the I-Cubs this season … he has walked 18 times, compared to only 19 strikeouts.

Mervis last season was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year after batting a combined .309 (158-for-512) with 40 doubles, two triples, 36 home runs and 119 RBI, rising from High-A South Bend to Iowa.

ONE BELOW: The Cubs have opened the season with a 15-16 record after going 11-20 in the first 31 games of last season (12-20 through 32) … Chicago this season has scored first in 19 games, fourth-most in the majors behind Atlanta (23), the Dodgers (21) and Tampa Bay (21) … the team is 15-3 when out-hitting the opponent and 0-12 when being out-hit … here’s a look at the team’s numbers in victories and setbacks this season:

2023 AVG OBP SLG R/G BB SO ERA IP ER BB SO
15 Wins .317 .382 .519 7.4 54 114 1.72 136.0 26 48 135
16 Losses .220 .298 .349 2.8 54 143 5.40 136.2 82 46 134

ABOUT THE BATS: Chicago’s .270 team batting average (288-for-1,067) ranks third in the majors behind Tampa Bay (.280) and Boston (.274), however, the Cubs have batted .235 (93-for-395) in their last 12 games since April 22 (along with a .313 OBP and .390 SLG in that span) … Chicago’s .341 season on-base percentage ranks fourth in the majors while its .436 slugging mark ranks sixth.

Nico Hoerner’s 41 hits are tied for sixth in MLB … his 11 steals are tied for third in the N.L. and his 23 runs scored are tied for seventh.
ABOUT THE ARMS: Cubs pitching has surrendered 26 home runs this season, tied for the fewest in the N.L. and third-fewest in the majors.

Chicago’s pitching staff has held the opponent to a .225 average against (226-for-1,005), the lowest in the N.L. and fourth-lowest in the MLB.

Cubs relievers have allowed just six of 27 inherited runners to score, and that 77.8% success rate ranks fourth in the majors (Miami leads, 78.8%).

RISPY BUSINESS: Chicago on the recent seven-game road trip through Miami and Washington D.C., hit .158 (9-for-57) with runners in scoring position including a .111 mark (1-9) with five strikeouts and a sac fly with the bases loaded.

Still, the Cubs have batted .278 (75-for-270) with RISP this season, third-best in the N.L. and seventh in the majors.

Eric Hosmer’s .389 average (7-for-18) with RISP leads the club, while Nico Hoerner’s 16 RBI when batting with RISP is also a team-high.

LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: The Cubs have scored at least one run in each of their first 31 games in 2023, just the sixth time in the expansion era (since 1961) the team has gotten on the board in each of its first 31 contests … the longest season-opening streaks in this span: 47 G in 1995, 43 G in 2020, 40 G in 2012, 35 G in 1975 and 34 G in 1991.

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