wrigley stands crowd

Tonight, the Chicago Cubs will look to clinch their sixth series since the All-Star Break, and move to 65-41 on the season.

Although they have two more wins than anyone else in baseball, they’ll want to crush any hopes the Cardinals have of over taking them in the Central. That said a win over the Marlins tonight would undoubtedly help the Cardinals (.5 game back of Miami) chances of reaching the playoffs via the second Wild Card.

Let’s just play our game, and let them worry about the rest.

Starting for the Cubs tonight is right-hander Jason Hammel. Hammel looked especially sharp his last time out, lasting 7.0 innings, allowing just 1 earned run on a homer, 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. In fact, in his four starts since the break, Hammel has a 2.00 ERA (3.41 FIP) with an excellent 26.9% strikeout rate and a perfectly good 7.5% walk rate. Opponents are hitting just .194 off him during that stretch. Hammel will pitch to Contreras tonight, who catches his third straight game.

Starting for the Marlins is Jose Fernandez. If you can believe it, Fernandez only just turned 24 years old two days ago; though, it feels like he’s been around forever. Despite the fact that he rarely makes it through a healthy full season, things are looking good here in 2016. Through his 125.2 innings pitched so far, Fernandez has kept a 2.79 ERA, with even stronger peripherals (2.22 FIP, 2.26 xFIP) to support it. His 36.8% strikeout rate is utterly terrifying and just so happens to lead the entire Major Leagues. In fact, his K-rate doesn’t just lead the Majors, it leads by a lot. Clayton Kershaw (32.9%) is second to Fernandez by roughly 4 percentage points (!) and he’s got roughly 7 percentage points on Noah Syndergaard. That’s a scary thought.

Put differently, I do not envy Cubs hitters tonight. So if you plan on watching the game tonight, remember to take deep breaths and have patience. Fernandez is one of the best in the game and they aren’t easy to beat for a reason.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (64-41) at Miami Marlins Mariners (57-49), 7:05 CSN-C+, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so let’s have some nice, clean, safe-for-work fun, eh?

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jason Hammel (R): 3.23 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 4.25 xFIP; 2.77 K/BB

versus

Marlins: Jose Fernandez (R): 2.79 ERA, 2.22 FIP, 2.26 xFIP; 4.97 K/BB



Miami Marlins Lineup:

  1. J.T. Realmuto, C
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Christian Yelich, LF
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
  5. Marcell Ozuna, CF
  6. Derek Dietrich, 2B
  7. Chris Johnson, 1B
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
  9. Jose Fernandez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Willson Contreras, C
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Jason Heyward, RF
  6. Addison Russell, SS
  7. Chris Coghlan, LF
  8. Javy Baez, 3B
  9. Jason Hammel, P

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