billy marlin zambranoThe Marlins haven’t had the year they envisioned when extending Giancarlo Stanton to a $325 million deal back in November. Well, let me amend: it’s probably not the year Stanton envisioned when he agreed to take the check.

With six games against the Nationals and Tigers on the horizon, this is a series the Cubs really should, you know, try and win. I can’t help but think about that Diamondbacks series last weekend, though, where the pitching matchups overwhelmingly favored the Cubs, and they still lost the series. Baseball, man.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs are still in a bit of a tough stretch, though they managed to split a rain-shortened series against the Royals this weekend. At 26-22, the Cubs are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the Wild Card spots … that won’t be decided for four more months.

The Marlins just took two of three from the Mets, but were swept in Pittsburgh before that. At 20-31 on the year, though, the Marlins are saved from the NL cellar only by the Phillies and Brewers.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, June 1 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, June 2 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, June 3 at 6:10 CT on WPWR.

And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jason Hammel (2.98 ERA, 2.98 FIP; 8.29 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (3.76 ERA, 3.64 FIP; 3.73 K/BB), Jon Lester (3.30 ERA, 3.48 FIP; 3.59 K/BB)


  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Miguel Montero, C
  6. Jorge Soler, RF
  7. Chris Coghlan, LF
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, 2B


Starters: Jose Urena (9.39 ERA, 6.11 FIP; 3.00 K/BB), Brad Hand (4.50 ERA, 2.32 FIP; 3.33 K/BB), Dan Haren (3.03 ERA, 4.44 FIP; 3.58 K/BB)


  1. Dee Gordon, 2B
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
  4. Justin Bour, 1B
  5. Marcell Ozuna, CF
  6. Christian Yelich, LF
  7. J.T. Realmuto, C
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

It’s been a really rough stretch for the Cubs’ offense, which is hitting just .208/.272/.379 over the last two weeks (.289 wOBA, 75 wRC+). Man. Until I actually checked, I didn’t realize just how bad it’s been. Woof. But what we said before the season started can’t just be a hollow mantra: we always knew this young offense would go through stretches like this. No, we probably didn’t expect that Starlin Castro – who keeps batting fourth – would be the biggest offender (line is down to .265/.300/.332), but we absolutely did expect stretches like this.

The guy who should be hitting fourth is Chris Coghlan, who, with another solid game yesterday, bumped up his line since May 11 to .286/.364/.571 (.389 wOBA, 148 wRC+) and a reasonable .303 BABIP. He’s walking, he’s hitting for power, etc. He has the 13th lowest soft-contact rate in all of baseball. Whatever you thought about Coghlan’s early-season “struggles” or his breakout 2014 season, the guy is – right now – exceedingly legit.

How have the Marlins gone from pre-season darling to early-season flop? Well, just about everyone except Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon is massively underperforming on the offensive side, their starting pitching has been only so-so, and their formerly-excellent closer, Steve Cishek, has an ERA approaching seven.

With Michael Morse hurt (and playing terribly when he wasn’t), Justin Bour is getting a lot of playing time at first base for the Marlins lately, and doing well with it, hitting .369/.414/.646 over 70 plate appearances. If the 27-year-old’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he came from the Cubs’ system – the Marlins got him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft a couple years ago, which pretty much makes him the biggest Rule 5 heist in recent memory (he’d be competing with Hector Rondon, probably – but, again, minor league phase (which means the Marlins just got to grab him and keep him)). How did the Cubs let Bour go for nothing? Well, he was a later-blooming bat-only guy whom the Cubs weren’t going to have a spot for on the 40-man roster – it was not a controversial decision at the time. Could/should they have protected him at least at the AAA level? The answer seems pretty obvious at this point, but, to be fair, Bour was closer to a league-average hitter last year (which wouldn’t cut it as a guy who’s best served as a DH), so we’ll see if this lasts. Great story for him, though, eh?