Tonight, the Chicago Cubs have a shot at winning five games in a row for the first time this season.
They made it this far (four straight wins) back in April, but dropped the series finale to the Reds to end the streak. Hopefully, tonight’s game marks a new high for consecutive wins and the Cubs are able to ensure another series victory.
But if that’s going to happen, they’ll need the good version of Jake Arrieta, like they got in his last start against the Padres: 6.0 IP, 5H, 1ER, 2BB, 7Ks. But while Arrieta was very good in that start and continues to strike out a ton of guys and walk very few (his 6.3 BB% is 12th best in the NL), opposing hitters have managed to make a lot more and better contact off him than we’re used to seeing.
And if they keep hitting .270 off Jake with a 33.3% hard-hit rate, his K/BB ratio may not matter, regardless of how good it gets.
Opposing Arrieta and the Cubs is left-hander Jeff Locke. As we discussed and explained earlier, despite Locke’s left-handedness, Jon Jay will be leading off for the Cubs tonight against the Marlins. And, despite being a lefty himself, Jay’s actually hit southpaws perfectly well for his career, owning a .305 average and .373 on-base percentage in 670 plate appearances against left-handed starters.
On paper, you have to feel pretty good about the Cubs chances tonight. The bullpen (with the return of Wade Davis) is mostly rested and ready to go, Arrieta is coming off a solid start, and the offense has shown signs of life in recent days. Make no mistake, this Marlins lineup is still dangerous, but I won’t be the one to break the optimism. Not yet.
Miami Marlins (24-32) at Chicago Cubs (29-27) – 7:05 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 4.60 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 3.58 xFIP; 4.18 K/BB
Marlins: Jeff Locke (L): 1.59 ERA, 0.58 FIP, 1.50 xFIP; 7.00 K/BB (one start)
- Dee Gordon, 2B
- Giancarlo Stanton, RF
- Christian Yelich, CF
- Marcell Ozuna, LF
- J.T. Realmuto, C
- J.T. Riddle, SS
- Tyler Moore, 1B
- Christian Colon, 3B
- Jeff Locke, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Addison Russell, SS