The Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs continue their four-game series Friday afternoon at historic Wrigley Field
Florida Marlins at Chicago Cubs
Florida went into the All-Star break riding a five-game win streak and continued its winning ways with a 6-3 road win over Chicago Thursday night. The Marlins still find themselves 13.5 games back in the National League East division, but optimism remains inside the clubhouse. “We’re going to fight it out – we have to,” said Marlins player Greg Dobbs. “We can’t give up.” Last night’s win also snapped a six-game losing streak to the Cubs, which was at the time the longest any opponent held over the club. It’s important to note that the Marlins failed to score in the first eight innings of yesterday’s contest, scoring six runs in the ninth, which was their most in any inning this year. Florida is 22-10 on the road this year and 8-15 in day games.
Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco is 6-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 19 starts this season and comes in off a dominating home performance. The right-hander captured a 6-1 complete game victory over the Astros last time out, giving up just a single run and seven hits, while issuing just one walk and registering eight strikeouts. Nolasco has a winning 4-3 mark and 4.47 ERA in eight road outings, but has struck out just 28 batters in 54 1/3 frames. In six previous appearances (five starts) versus the Cubs, he has tallied a winning 3-1 record and 3.09 ERA. He receive a no-decision in his latest effort against them on May 18 at home, giving up five runs (four earned) and nine hits over six innings.
Chicago will be playing its second game of an 11-day, 10-game homestand and will look to improve upon its 39-39 record in this series at Wrigley Field. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol would love to gain redemption after suffering through a horrific outing, giving up five runs total, while walking four batters. “That was pretty bad,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade. “That was as bad as I’ve seen him.” The bullpen has still posted a 3.67 ERA this season, which is 0.88 lower than last year’s mark (4.55). The club is in the midst of also playing seven-straight games against NL East competition, entering today with a 6-8 mark in such contests.
Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster enters today’s contest with an even 6-6 mark and 5.01 ERA. The veteran is coming off a 6-3 road victory over the Pirates, giving up three runs and seven hits over five frames. Chicago has won his last three starts overall, as the offense has provided 14 runs of support over that span. Dempster will be making his 10th daytime start, entering with a 3-4 record and 5.27 ERA. In 15 lifetime outings (five starts) versus the Marlins, the right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.54 ERA, picking up a no-decision in a 7-5 victory over Nolasco earlier this year.
Bettors will likely back the Cubs due to their 4-0 mark in Dempster’s last four starts as a home favorite, while the Marlins are 2-7 in Nolasco’s last nine starts