The Chicago Cubs try to break an eight-game losing streak when they face the host Miami Marlins in the first of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. The first pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET at loanDepot park in Miami.
Chicago was swept in a four-game series by the Milwaukee Brewers, capped by a 17-4 loss in Thursday’s finale. The Cubs are 52-65 and in fourth place in the National League Central, trailing the third-place St. Louis Cardinals by 7½ games.
Miami salvaged the finale of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, 7-0, snapping a five-game losing streak. The Marlins are 48-67 and in last place in the NL East, two games behind the fourth-place Washington Nationals and 11 games behind the third-place Atlanta Braves.
The MLB odds for the series opener have the Marlins with a moneyline of -113, while the Cubs are listed at +103. The over/under for this game has been set at 7½ runs.
Trust the Process
The Cubs dealt away veterans Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Craig Kimbrel at the trade deadline and released pitcher Jake Arrieta this week. The move to youth has been difficult, with the team having dropped 14 of 16, but pitcher Kyle Hendricks believes it will be worth it.
“You’ve got to focus on the process right now,” Hendricks said after Thursday’s 17-4 loss. “This really is valuable experience for everybody here, facing top arms like we have lately, just getting that experience and being in the big leagues. There’s a lot of guys kind of getting their footing and learning their way, which is really fun to watch, and I think it’ll pay off for us a lot next year.”
Right-hander Adbert Alzolay will try to turn around the Cubs’ fortunes when he gets the start on Friday night. The 26-year-old is 4-12 with a 4.71 ERA, striking out 106 and walking 31 in 105 innings.
Alzolay has lost his last eight decisions, with his last win coming on June 2. He took the loss in his last start against the White Sox on Saturday, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking none.
Catcher Willson Contreras is one of the mainstays of the lineup that is left, but he can’t carry the Cubs on his own. He was 0-for-6 in the series against Milwaukee, striking out twice. He has 15 doubles, 17 home runs, 40 RBIs and 48 runs scored, but he also has 116 strikeouts.
Outfielder Ian Happ is another potentially explosive batter, though he’s struggled throughout 2021. He’s batting .176 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and 33 runs scored.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo will make his third start for the Marlins since coming to the Marlins from Oakland at the trade deadline. Luzardo is 3-5 with a 7.36 ERA, striking out 47 and walking 23 in 47.2 innings.
The 23-year-old has a 9.31 ERA in his two starts with Miami. His last outing was a rough one, as he went 4.2 innings against Colorado on Saturday, allowing seven runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking four.
First baseman Jesus Aguilar has gone 5-for-12 with a double, a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored over his last three games. He leads the Miami Marlins with 79 RBIs, adding 20 doubles, 20 home runs and 41 runs scored.
Shortstop Miguel Rojas is batting a team-high .272 and had a six-game hit streak snapped in Wednesday’s win against San Diego. He has 24 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 31 RBIs and 51 runs scored.
The Marlins took two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago in mid-June. Miami is 27-27 at home while the Cubs are 21-37 on the road.
Zach Davies (6-9, 5.26 ERA) will be on the mound for Saturday’s contest with Alec Mills (5-4, 4.27) slated to start Sunday for Chicago. Miami hasn’t named a starter for the second game but will go with Zach Thompson (2-5, 3.09) in the series finale.
The MLB series prices for the weekend have the Marlins as the favorites at -170, while the Cubs are listed at +140.
Marlins Earn Win
Though Luzardo has struggled on the mound for Miami, he should be able to hold his own against the Cubs lineup. Chicago is having trouble just being competitive right now, so expecting a road win is a little too much.
When doing your MLB betting, take Miami to win at home.