miami marlins home run sculptureI’d say it if the cleat were on the other foot, so it’s only fair to say it now: winning a four-game series is hard. Pulling it off against a good team (even a banged up team) is even harder.

But that’s what’s on the table for the Marlins today, and they’ve got their ace, one of the best in baseball, on the mound.

If the Cubs are going to split this series, they’ll either have to figure out Jose Fernandez, or at least outlast him (for all his awesomeness, Fernandez averages only about six innings per start this year). Of course, as we’ve already seen in this series, the Marlins have some mighty good relievers laying in wait.

If Good Jason Hammel shows up out of the gate, the Cubs can hang around in this one. When he’s on, commanding the fastball down in the zone and rocking a sharp slider, Hammel can dominate just as well as Fernandez could. It’s just, well, that doesn’t always happen.

It’ll be hard to do today, but try to enjoy watching Jose Fernandez if it’s not something you do when he’s not facing the Cubs. When he’s on, which is usually, the fastball has so much life (not just velocity, though it’s got a lot of that, too), the curveball/slider is ridiculous, and the changeup keeps hitters off balance. He’s special. Don’t get too frustrated when Cubs hitters look silly.

Still. I would like to go into tonight’s ‘Game of Thrones’ finale on the high associated with the Cubs beating Jose Fernandez. Make it happen.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (48-25) at Miami Marlins (40-35), 12:10 CT on ABC-7, MLBN, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives here. The Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jason Hammel (R): 2.55 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 4.21 xFIP; 2.68 K/BB

versus

Marlins: Jose Fernandez (R): 2.36 ERA, 2.05 FIP, 2.39 xFIP; 4.63 K/BB



Miami Marlins Lineup:

1. Ichiro Suzuki, CF

2. Martin Prado, 3B

3. Christian Yelich, LF

4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

5. Justin Bour, 1B

6. Derek Dietrich, 2B

7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

8. Jeff Mathis, C

9. Jose Fernandez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Ben Zobrist, 2B

2. Jason Heyward, CF

3. Kris Bryant, 3B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Willson Contreras, LF

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Addison Russell, SS

8. Chris Coghlan, RF

9. Jason Hammel, P




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