With their win yesterday, the Chicago Cubs were able to win their series against the San Diego Padres and make a “happy flight” over to Miami for tonight’s game. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Thanks to a late-inning comeback, the Miami Marlins avoided getting swept for the first time this season, as they got back in the win column after losing four straight. Miami went into the ninth inning down 4-0, but thanks to some big hits from Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Garrett Cooper, Miami put up five in the ninth to secure the win.
Tonight Miami will hand the ball to Jesús Luzardo to make his sixth start of the season. The lefty is fresh off getting his first loss of the season, but on the year, he has thrown 27.3 innings with a 3.62 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Luzardo has been the team’s best starter so far and had a lot of success against the Cubs last season in two starts. In 13 ⅔ innings, Luzardo racked up 17 strikeouts and allowed just one earned run.
The Cubs lineup the left-hander will face tonight is a bit different from last year, however, as they are 3rd in average runs per game, 2nd in OPS, and 2nd in BAbip. Chicago has scored four or more runs in seven of their last ten games, including five in yesterday’s win over the Padres, in which they hit three home runs, including Dansby Swanson’s first in a Cubs uniform.
Chicago will hand the ball to veteran righty Marcus Stroman to make his sixth start of the year. Stroman was able to pick up his 1,000th career strikeout in his last start and has gotten off to a strong start this season, throwing 29 innings with a 2.17 ERA. The righty has racked up 30 strikeouts up to this point, and tonight will face a Marlins lineup that is 24th in strikeout percentage.
The Cubs are currently priced at (-115) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them tonight for my play. Chicago has won their last five road games when facing a left-handed starter, and they take on a Marlins tonight that, despite their comeback win yesterday, has struggled at the plate.
The Cubs’ lineup is hitting .279 against left-handed pitchers this season with a .807 OPS. Additionally, Chicago has been great on the road, as they are hitting .309 with a .881 OPS in eight road games. They have a tough matchup with Luzardo on the hill, but even with the strong numbers, the lefty is in the 38th percentile in barrel percentage and coming off his worst start of the season. The lefties xwOBA has started to creep in the wrong direction across his last two starts, and he faces a strong lineup tonight.
Chicago has the advantage on the mound, with Marcus Stroman currently in the 90th percentile in barrel percentage, 67th percentile in strikeout percentage, and 71st percentile in expected slugging. The righty has a 60.3% ground ball percentage on top of that and faces a Miami line-up that is hitting .231 against righties with a .668 OPS.
Chicago Cubs (-115)