The Miami Marlins have split the first two games of the series with the Chicago Cubs. They’re looking to take game three on Saturday.
After losing 11-1 to open the series, the home team got a big win on Friday night. They relied on an superb pitching from Jose Urena and yeoman’s work from the bullpen. It strayed from the blueprint type win the Miami Marlins have earned this season.
Game three is an important one for both teams. The Marlins are looking to finish the month of June with an even record. To do that, they’ll need to win their next six games. The Cubs are still looking to get going this year. They’ve hovered around the .500 mark all year.
After last nights pitchers duel, here’s what to look for in Saturday’s matchup.
Long start from Nicolino
Justin Nicolino is looking to bounce back from a rocky start last time out. It was his first start in the Major Leagues since making his way back from the disabled list. He failed to keep the team in the game and was pulled after the third inning.
The Marlins will need a strong start from him today. The bullpen is exhausted right now. Urena pitched six strong innings last night. They’ll need the same from Nicolino tonight, possibly seven if his pitch count is low.
He’s managed to qualify for a win only once all season. In his first start since being called up this season, he went six innings and held the Braves to only one run. Since then, he’s thrown a combined 10 innings in has last three starts.
Tyler Moore gets the start
One of the more encouraging developments for the Marlins this season has been Justin Bour‘s ability to hit left-handed pitching. After a career of ineptitude against lefties, he’s suddenly eaten them up. Bour is batting .354 against them, with 6HR’s and 15 RBI’s.
That’s why it is puzzling that Tyler Moore is getting the start today. Bour was made to look foolish in chasing the breaking ball in the dirt against John Lackey yesterday, striking out on the pitch twice. He’s been as hot as ever since returning from the disabled list otherwise.
Moore has been playing well in his own right. Combining his totals with that Justin Bour gives the Marlins the second most output from the first base position in the Major Leagues. They trail the Atlanta Braves.
This could be a matter of trying to keep Moore’s bat hot. Bour might have reaggravated his ankle injury and is being given the night off. There is no indication of that to this point, but his having the day off is peculiar.
Fish look to even season series
Miami lost a best two-of-three series to the Cubs earlier this month. After winning last night, they have the chance to even the season series at three wins each. They would play the decisive game tomorrow.
Miami winning the season series could be an important moral victory to the ball club. After falling as many as 13 games under .500 at one point, they are attempting to crawl their way back.
Despite their record, the Cubs remain a dangerous team. They’ve failed to sustain wins this season but continue to nip at the heels of the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central. Winning a best-of-seven series against the defending champions speaks volumes.
The Miami Marlins have been playing better baseball in June. They’ll look to continue to show improvement when they take on the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, June 24th. First pitch is at 4:10 pm from Marlins Park.