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miami marlins home run sculptureIt wasn’t until drilling down into one of Theo Epstein’s comments today that I discovered how good the Cubs have been over the last month. They’re 16-12 in their last 28 games, which is a .571 winning percentage. If the Cubs kept up that pace until the end of the season, they’d win another 54 games, and finish at 83 – 79. That would obviously be an enormous turnaround from where they started the season, but it’s telling: the Cubs would have to keep up their recent “very good” pace for the whole rest of the season just to finish a few games out of a playoff spot.

I didn’t mean for that to turn depressing.

Contrast all of that with tonight’s starter, Jeff Samardzija. Despite being the subject of extension rumors, Samardzija remains a very likely trade piece next month. And then those 83 wins become all the more difficult to reach. Which, if the Cubs aren’t going to make the playoffs anyway … just sayin’.

Game Info

Miami Marlins (35-34) at Chicago Cubs (29-39), 6:10 CT on WGN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Game threads now live here in the comments – and with Disqus, they should be even more enjoyable.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (2.77 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 3.27 xFIP; 3.15 K/BB)

versus

Anthony DeSclafani (5.56 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 3.52 xFIP; 4.50 K/BB)

Miami Marlins Lineup

1. Rafael Furcal, 2B

2. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

4. Casey McGehee, 3B

5. Garrett Jones, 1B

6. Marcell Ozuna, LF

7. Jake Marisnick, CF

8. J.T. Realmuto, C

9. Anthony DeSclafani, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Luis Valbuena, 3B

2. Justin Ruggiano, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Junior Lake, CF

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Eli Whiteside, C

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

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