Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (3-7) at Miami Marlins (4-6)

The Cubs stumble into their next opponent having lost all three series so far this year. They'll face the Marlins and their hideous HR structure. Thank DeRosa that this series is being played in Miami and not Chicago – the media firestorm with Ozzie's return after suspension from his recent comments and the mere existence of Carlos Zambrano would be fanned even further by the Chicago papers if the teams were playing at Wrigley. Z has been doing Z things with the Marlins, walking a bunch of batters and racking up big pitch counts. He was in position to "win" both of the games he started, but fellow newcomer Heath Bell blew the save each time.

Team Matchups

I'll switch to this season's stats. NL Rank in parens.

  Cubs Marlins
wOBA .285 (13th) .293 (10th)
Baserunning 0.8 (5th) -1.1 (13th)
UZR 3.9 (3rd) -5.8 (15th)
DRS 2 (4th) -13 (16th)
SP FIP 3.47 (8th) 3.71 (10th)
RP FIP 4.56 (15th) 4.30 (14th)

Lineups

Updated ZiPS projections for all players

Cubs wOBA wOBA Marlins
RF David DeJesus .330 .354 SS Jose Reyes
2B Darwin Barney .291 .308 CF Emilio Bonifacio
SS Starlin Castro .338 .358 3B Hanley Ramirez
LF Alfonso Soriano .318 .377 RF Giancarlo Stanton
3B Ian Stewart .313 .349 LF Logan Morrison
1B Bryan LaHair .343 .337 1B Gaby Sanchez
C Geovany Soto .328 .318 2B Omar Infante
CF Marlon Byrd .314 .304 C John Buck

The Marlins have some thunder in that lineup. Jose Reyes has gotten off to a bad start to the season, posting a .238/.289/.357 line. I'm sure Marlins fans are clamoring for him to be replaced by some replacement level SS in the minors (see: Geovany Soto's slow start).

Injuries

Stanton has a sore left knee and is day to day. Former fireballing Cubs bullpen prospect Jose Ceda had Tommy John surgery last week. No word on whether the Marlins are planning on reopening the Kevin Gregg compensation.

Pitching Matchups

ERA, FIP, xFIP, and ZiPS FIP in parens

Tuesday: Ryan Dempster, RHP (1.88, 2.95, 3.11, 3.94) vs Josh Johnson, RHP (8.38, 2.78, 3.50, 2.69), 6:05 PM CT

Dempster followed up his stellar ten strikeout opening day with a merely very good outing against the Brewers. Dempster struck out five and walked three in 6 2/3 and took the loss in a game where the Cubs couldn't get much going offensively. He's the beneficiary of a .176 BABIP on the season #funwithsmallsamplesizes

On the flip side, Johnson's poor numbers seem to be entirely due to batted ball luck (.488 BABIP). He hasn't given up any homers (helped in part by their humongous park), but hitters are hitting him hard so far too. He's given up 15 line drives in his two starts, and his strikeout rates are way down. He's coming off of surgery last year so that could be playing a major role.

Wednesday: Matt Garza, RHP (1.23, 2.48, 2.63, 3.34) vs Mark Buehrle, LHP (3.65, 4.59, 4.16, 3.78), 6:05 PM CT

If Steve Trachsel was the Human Rain Delay, what does that make Mark Buehrle? He's scuffled a bit with his new team and has had some trouble with home runs but he's mostly been as advertised.

Garza blew his chance at a shutout his last time out by throwing the 27th out 15 rows into the stands. It's always so strange to see just how awful he is at fielding the position.

Thursday: Jeff Samardzija, RHP (3.95, 2.15, 2.72, 4.18) vs Matt Cain and Felix Pie, RHP (3.46, 4.35, 3.73, 3.45), 11:40 AM CT

Samardzija's second start wasn't as impressive as his first. His fastballs' velocity was down about 3 mph from the 97 or so in his first start, and he pitched well enough before running into trouble in the fifth. The Cardinals hit five line drives off of him, scoring 5 runs. Luckily the Cubs offense had already posted nine of their own at that point.

Nolasco's best start was his first one, in Cincy. He went 8 innings and killed a ton of grass in their infield. He labored in his second start against the Astros, needing 90 pitches to go five innings against their woeful offense.

Prediction

Cubs lose yet another series.

berselius

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