The Cubs go for two wins in a row, for the first time all season….yep. Scott Feldman takes the ball for the Cubs, he opposed lefty Wade LeBlanc, lefty… you know what that means. It’s the return on the lefty lineup that is hitting somewhere near .100 on the season with zero wins. Here is how both teams will line up tonight for the 6:10 PM CST start.
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How was that for exciting, for the second time in the last week Luis Valbuena belted a clutch home run to put the Cubs up late, this time they actually won the game. Things weren’t looking so good early on as Edwin Jackson was struggling with his command and the Marlins jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning. Usually that spells the end of the game for the Cubs given their offensive woes, but not tonight. The Cubs scored once in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, and then tied it in the sixth on a home run by you guessed it, Schierholtz again. Jackson settled in, and the Cubs pen did a great job to get the game tied at three and then Valbuena delivered the game winning shot in the top of the ninth. Carlos Marmol came on to get the save, and of course made it very interesting for everyone involved by putting the first two men on before escaping the jam, Cubs win!
At The Plate – The Cubs were only able to manage six hits in this one, but they made them count as they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position. David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored from the lead-off spot. Starlin Castro got the Cubs on the board early with an RBI single, he finished the day 1-for-4. Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored. Luis Valbuena, the hero on this night went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.
On The Mound – It didn’t look like Edwin Jackson was going to make it through four innings in this one but he battled his way to a quality start. Jackson went six innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four. The Cubs pen shined in this one as Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol all tossed scoreless innings in the victory. Impressive job by Marmol after it looked like things were going to unravel, he walked the first guy, gave up a hit to the next guy then settled in as he struck out the Marlins best hitter Giancarlo Stanton with the tying run in scoring position to end this one.
Valbuena’s game winner
Great defensive play in the ninth
Marmol gets the save
Schierholtz ties it with a home run
Castro’s RBI single
Great catch by Barney
Castillo’s RBI double
Slick play by Barney and Castro
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Well, based on the records, this could be an ugly series as the Cubs come in at 6-14 with the Marlins sporting a 5-16 record, that’s a lot of losses. As one could imagine, it hasn’t gone well of late for either team as the Cubs are 2-8 ion their last ten games, of course at least half of those losses could be wins, and the Marlins are 3-7 in their last ten. The Marlins struggles are similar to the that of the Cubs, they can’t score runs. The Marlins have the worst team batting average in all of baseball (.221), the Cubs aren’t much better at .229 (26th in MLB). The Marlins are also dead last in runs scored with 54, eleven fewer than the Cubs on the season. The Cubs also hold the edge in the pitching department as they sport a 3.44 team ERA which is 9th best in all of baseball, think about that for a second, the Cubs have the 9th best ERA yet sit eight games under .500 this year. The Marlins team ERA is a full run worse than that of the Cubs, they sit 26th in the Majors at 4.50. All signs point to a successful weekend in Miami for the Cubs, but they still have to go out there and perform.
The Cubs left Cincinnati wanting more, they lost two of three and could have easily won two of three.
The Marlins split a rain shortened series in Minnesota.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WCIU
- Friday, April 25, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
- Saturday, April 26, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Sunday, April 27, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.84)
– Career vs. Marlins (8 appearances, 7 GS) (1-6, 6.69)
Game Two – Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50)
– Career vs. Marlins (First appearance)
Game Three – Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08)
– Career vs. Marlins (2 GS) (0-2, 16.88)
Game Four – Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53)
– Career vs. Marlins (10 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 5.79)
Game One – Kevin Slowey (0-2, 1.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (1-0, 4.50)
Game Two – Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-0, 2.08)
Game Three – Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 3.18)
Game Three – Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 7 GS) (4-2, 2.85)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
The Cubs have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, even more troubling is their inability to get runners in from third base and less than two outs. That is a situation where contact needs to be made and the run needs to score. So far this season the Cubs have had twenty-three at bats with a runner at third with less than two outs, they only have two hits, that’s a .077 average. They have only scored eleven times in those twenty-three chances, for one, they need more chances, and two they need to capitalize starting yesterday. Anthony Rizzo is having better at bats as of late unfortunately that is not yielding better results. Over his last six games Rizzo is hitting .185 (5-for-27), he does have three home runs and five RBI’s during that stretch. Darwin Barney has struggled mightily at the plate since returning from the DL, he is hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his last six games, but does have a game winning homer. David DeJesus has been lighting it up of late, he is hitting .368 (7-for-19) over the last six games with a double, a triple, two home runs, three RBI’s, and four walks. On the mound, Carlos Villanueva has been outstanding in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA only giving up seven hits in 15.1 innings.
The Marlins glaring issues are scoring runs, and then preventing them once the bullpen comes into the game, sounds familiar, eh? I mentioned the Marlins offensive woes above, but their bullpen ERA is just as bad. The Marlins sit 28th in the Majors in bullpen ERA with a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than the Cubs if you can believe that. Get ready for a lot of names that you probably don’t know, starting now. Not much has gone right at the plate for the Marlins, but Rob Brantly has been a bright spot lately. Over the last five games Brantly is hitting .313 (5-for16) with three doubles, four RBI’s, and two walks. Justin Ruggiano on the other hand has been awful in the last seven games hitting .207 (6-for-29), of those six hits two have left the park. Ryan Webb has been one of the few bright spots out of the Marlins pen of late as he has tossed six innings over the last seven days giving up only one run. Jon Rauch has been stupid bad in his last two appearances, giving up five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.
These close games are bound to start going in the favor of the Cubs, and I think that starts now. The way the Cubs staff has been throwing the ball I like their chances against a weak Marlins line up. I also think the Cubs will start getting some timely hits and take three out of four this weekend….please??
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