The Cubs are at home on a Friday, which means it’s time for an afternoon game. The Marlins are in town after getting swept by the Braves and need to have a sense of urgency after dropping to .500. Chicago, meanwhile, just dropped three of four to the Nationals. Edward Cabrera gets the start for the Marlins while Justin Steele will be on the hill for the Cubs, who enter at -168 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Friday’s matchup and break down why the Marlins might be in a better position to bounce back.
Marlins vs. Cubs Prediction
On the surface, the Cubs’ patient and powerful lineup should be in line for a bounce back performance at home, but this matchup may favor the Marlins. Trends indicate Steele could be due for some regression, and Miami has punished left-handers throughout the first five weeks of the season.
The Marlins were also cruising right along before their sweep at the hands of the Braves. They get more of a pass for that series than the Cubs do for dropping three straight against a bad Nationals team.
Edward Cabrera’s control issues are a major concern for Marlins bettors, and rightfully so. The Cubs are built to take their walks and punish pitchers with home runs. Lately, though, that’s not the Cubs team we’ve seen. With five runs in their last three games against a poor Washington staff, it might take more than just a return to Wrigley Field for the bats to get going. Marlins +142 is the better value on Friday.
Marlins vs. Cubs Prediction: Marlins +142
Marlins vs. Cubs Odds
The Cubs enter as home favorites against the Marlins at -168 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9 runs.
It’s been a very bumpy week for both teams, but the Cubs’ bats at home plus the volatility of Cabrera is what puts this line in Chicago’s favor. It doesn’t hurt that Steele has been excellent so far this season. There might be more at play here, though.
Marlins vs. Cubs Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Marlins vs. Cubs.
Edward Cabrera vs. Control Issues
Edward Cabrera’s K/9 rate is up to 12.0 this season, making him lethal when he has command of his pitches. This season, he simply hasn’t. His walk rate is through the roof, already posting four starts with at least four walks. Cabrera walked a combined 13 batters in his first two starts and regressed again with five walks in his last outing.
Considering he does a nice job of generating swings-and-misses and limiting hits, the Cubs will need to make this trend continue. Chicago has a relatively patient lineup, sitting ninth in baseball in walks. Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ both have an OBP north of .400 and are two of seven NL hitters with 20+ walks this season. The mission on Friday may be to just get on base and let Cabrera beat himself.
Marlins Lineup vs. Left-Handed Justin Steele
It’s still early, but the Marlins have hit significantly better against lefties this season. Miami is batting .300 with a .346 OBP and .783 OPS against left-handers, compared to a .236 AVG and .664 OPS against right-handers. It’ll be interesting to see whether that advantage shows itself against Steele on Friday.
Steele has been terrific this season, carrying a 1.49 ERA into his seventh start. His 3.39 FIP indicates there is some regression coming, however, and it’s not hard to guess he probably can’t sustain a dominant 5.9 hits per nine rate.
The Marlins’ offense ordinarily wouldn’t be the type of group that could bring a pitcher back down to Earth, but with their success against lefties, they might be able to put runs on the board Friday.
Marlins vs. Cubs Starting Lineups
Marlins Starting Lineup
CF Jazz Chisholm L
DH Jorge Soler R
1B Yuli Gurriel R
2B Luis Arraez L
LF Bryan De La Cruz R
RF Jesus Sanchez L
3B Jean Segura R
C Jacob Stallings R
SS Jon Berti R
Cubs Starting Lineup
2B Nico Hoerner R
SS Dansby Swanson R
LF Ian Happ S
CF Cody Bellinger L
RF Seiya Suzuki R
DH Trey Mancini R
1B Eric Hosmer L
3B Patrick Wisdom R
C Tucker Barnhart L