Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins Preview and Pick

Chicago Cubs (83-73) -145, o/u 9 at Florida Marlins (66-90), 7:05 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Staff

The Chicago Cubs look to cement their hold on the National League’s Central Division when they begin the last week of the regular season with a three-game series with the Florida Marlins in Miami starting Tuesday night.

Chicago just swept three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field over the weekend, scoring 30 runs in the process. So the Cubs now lead the NL Central by three games over the second-place Milwaukee Brewers with six games to play.

On the other side of this match-up, Florida is playing out the string, and it’s showing. The Marlins just lost three of four games to the New York Mets in Miami over the weekend, allowing 30 runs in the process. So Florida sits in last place in the NL East, 21 games back of the first-place New Yorkers.

And yet, in the only previous encounter between these two teams this season, the Marlins swept three games from Chicago at Wrigley in late May.

The Cubs are a respectable 39-36 on the road this season, while Florida is 33-45 at home. And the way the Marlins have been drawing, there will probably be more Cubbies backers in the stands Tuesday night than Marlins fans.

A couple of lefties will go at it in Tuesday’s series opener when Ted Lilly (15-7, 3.78) takes the mound for Chicago against Dontrelle Willis (9-15, 5.32) for Florida.

Lilly has allowed seven ER and 17 baserunners in his last 20 IP, and the Cubs have won his last five starts. On the season, Chicago is 19-13 when Lilly starts, the o/u 16-13.

Lilly has started one game in his career vs. the Marlins, allowing five ER and eight baserunners over seven IP of a 9-0 Cubs loss back in May.

Willis has struggled all season. He’s allowed 15 ER and 26 baserunners over his last 15 IP, and Florida is 15-18 in his starts this year, the o/u a lop-sided 21-12.

Willis has started once vs. Chicago this season, allowing four ER and eight baserunners in seven IP of a 9-4 Marlins win back in that May series at Wrigley.

The Cubs own a .334 team OBP this season, which ranks 17th in the majors, and are averaging 4.7 runs per game.

Florida ranks 15th with its .336 team OBP and is averaging 4.9 RPG.

The Chicago bullpen has given up four ER and 20 baserunners over its last 19 IP.

The Marlins pen has been clipped for 13 ER and 38 baserunners (!) over its last 21 2/3 innings of work.

The o/u is 64-83 in Cubs games this season, but 87-62 in Florida games and 47-26 at Dolphins Stadium, where games are averaging 10.8 runs per (third-most in MLB), and about that many fans.

The Predictem Pick: Over 9.5 runs.