The Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins get set to due battle in a short two-game series leading into interleague play at Sun Life Stadium
Chicago Cubs at Florida Marlins
Chicago committed a season-high tying four errors and had two leads erased in a 7-5 setback in Cincinnati last night. “The harping was done last night,” Cubs manager Mike Quade stated. “It’s the multitude of them that’s killing us right now.” The team now turns its focus to evening the all-time series with Florida, as a win would give each club 74 victories apiece. Chicago has won each of the last three season series over Florida, registering a 12-8 record over that span. Since the start of the 2009 campaign, Cubs starters have gone 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and a .197 average against in six games at Sun Life Stadium. The club has failed miserably against right-handed starters this season, entering tonight’s contest with a 10-19 record.
Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster enters the series opener with a 2-4 record and 6.71 ERA in nine starts this season. Chicago has alternated wins and losses over his last eight outings, capturing an 11-4 home victory in his last appearance. The right-hander has registered a 1-1 mark and 8.20 ERA in four road outings, as opponents are hitting for a .307 average. Dempster has bounced back nicely in May since suffering from a miserable April, posting a 2.25 ERA compared to a 9.58 ERA in the first month of the 2011 campaign.
Florida’s series finale against New York was rained out last night and the club now heads home to a venue in which its lost five of seven. The Marlins have won three of four to keep up with the Braves and Phillies in a highly-competitive National League East race. The club was 2-4 versus the Cubs last year, including an 0-3 mark and haven’t had a winning season against them since 2007. Florida skipper Edwin Rodriguez will likely shake things up in trying to gain success against tonight’s opponent, including keeping star shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Ramirez is hitting just .204 with two home runs and a .291 on-base percentage. Florida is 20-10 in night games this season.
Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco is a perfect 3-0 with a 3.02 ERA in eight starts this season, but the club has dropped his last two outings. The right-hander has surrendered four runs (three earned) and 11 hits over 13 1/3 innings those starts, but the offense has managed just five runs of support. Nolasco has a 1-0 record and 2.14 ERA in five home starts, as he’s given up just a single home run in 33 2/3 frames. In five career outings (four starts) versus the Cubs, he has tallied a winning 3-1 mark and 2.48 ERA.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Cubs due to their 8-1 mark versus National League East teams, while the Marlins are 9-4 against right-handed starters at home.