The Miami Marlins (16-16) take their lightest-hitting offense in the league on the road to face the Chicago Cubs (15-16) and Justin Steele, one of this season’s stingiest pitchers, at Wrigley Field on Friday for the opener of a three-game series.
The Marlins are playing their first of six games on the road after wrapping up a six-game homestand (3-3). They are coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves, dropping the finale 6-3 on Thursday at loanDepot park.
Jorge Soler was 3 for 5 with a home run and a double. He had three RBIs. The Cubs are playing the first of six games at home after concluding a difficult seven-game road trip (1-6).
They lost three of four against the Nationals in their last series, dropping the finale 4-3 on Thursday at Nationals Park. Cody Bellinger went 2 for 4 with one run.
The Marlins have won all three games this season between the teams, including a 4-3 victory in their most recent meeting on Sunday at loanDepot park. Reliever Tanner Scott threw one scoreless inning to get the win, and A.J. Puk picked up his fifth save with a scoreless ninth.
ON THE MOUND
Edward Cabrera (2-2, 4.67 ERA) is in line to start for Miami. The RHP matches up against the Cubs in back-to-back starts. On Saturday, he allowed two runs over five innings, a 7-6 road win.
He was credited with the win, scattering three hits while striking out 12 and walking five.For Chicago, LHP Steele (4-0, 1.49 ERA) will toe the rubber.
His only prior start against the Marlins this season was his last time out, when Steele gave up three runs (2 ER) over six innings in a 4-3 road defeat on Sunday.
He gave up seven hits and walked one, while striking out three in the no-decision. The southpaw leads the NL in ERA and is tied for second in wins.
AT THE PLATE
The Miami offense is averaging 3.4 runs per game for the season, lowest in MLB, with a slash line of .246/.308/.379. Luis Arraez leads the team in OPS at 1.038. The third baseman is slashing .432/.491/.547 with one home run, 12 RBIs, and 12 runs over 28 games.
Against left-handed pitchers like Steele this season, the Fish have a .778 OPS. Jazz Chisholm Jr. is the team’s most potent producer against left-handers with a .294 OPS in 26 at-bats. Chicago is slashing .274/.345/.442 for the season and averaging 5.0 runs per game. Patrick Wisdom leads the team with a .948 OPS.
The shortstop has 11 home runs, 21 RBIs, and 22 runs scored with a slash line of .238/.325/.624. Chicago is averaging only 2.6 runs per game in the last five with their slash line dropping across the board (.235/.298/.367).
The Cubs have a .767 OPS against right-handers in 2023. With a 1.069 OPS over 77 at-bats, Ian Happ has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Miami is 6-7 away from home in 2023, scoring 4.0 runs per game while allowing 5.8 runs. Chicago has gone 8-8 at their home ballpark this season, averaging 4.9 runs per game while surrendering 4.3.
In the last 10 games between the teams at Wrigley Field, each club has won five, though Miami has the scoring advantage with an average final margin of 3.5-1.9.
The Marlins are second in the NL East, five games behind the division-leading Braves. The Cubs are third in the NL Central, four games behind the Pirates.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Chicago Cubs (-165)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.