Chicago Cubs: Positives and negatives from series sweep vs. Cardinals

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Miami Marlins,
Miami Marlins, /

The Chicago Cubs will welcome the Miami Marlins to Wrigley Field for a four-game series.

The Chicago Cubs will host the Miami Marlins in a four-game series starting Monday. The two teams met in Miami in mid-April with the Cubs taking all three games.

Let’s look at the pitching matchups:

Monday, May 6th (Cole Hamels 3-0, 3.19 ERA vs. Sandy Alcantara 1-3, 4.86 ERA)

Cole Hamels and Sandy Alcantara will kick off this series and the two met in the finale of the previous series. Alcantara pitched 6.0 innings, struck out seven batters, but allowed five earned runs. Hamels was brilliant in that game, pitching 7.0 innings and struck out eight.

Tuesday, May 7th (Jon Lester, 2-1 1.73 ERA vs. Caleb Smith 3-0, 2.00 ERA)

Jon Lester will be making his first start against the Marlins this season. He was on the injured list when the two teams previously met, but has a 4.15 ERA in his last three starts against them. In those starts, he pitched 17.1 innings, struck out 13, walked seven, and gave up three home runs.

Smith has just one previous start in his career against the Cubs. He pitched 5.1 innings, struck out eight, walked three, and allowed one home-run. He came over from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton and has been awesome this season. Smith has been striking out batters at a 33.6 percent clip while walking them at just 6.7 percent. Opponents are batting just 0.168 off him this season, so Tuesday has the makings of a good pitching duel.

Wednesday, May 8th (Kyle Hendricks 2-4, 3.93 ERA vs. Jose Urena 1-5, 5.45 ERA)

Kyle Hendricks had arguably his best start of his career (in the regular season) on Friday. As previously noted, he needed just 81 pitches for a complete game. Jose Urena has gotten off to a bit of a rough start in 2019. His 5.45 ERA is a career worst since his rookie season in 2016 and he is striking out batters at 16.5 percent, but opponents are hitting 0.301 off his this season (via Fangraphs).

Thursday, May 9th (Yu Darvish 2-3, 5.79 ERA vs. Trevor Richards 0-4, 4.10 ERA)

This is really quite simple. Yu Darvish needs to utilize this start to get back on track. He has not been good this year and the Marlins are a bad team. He pitched just 4.0+ innings in his last start and failed to record an out in the 5th inning. Trevor Richards has been walking batters at 13.0 percent clip this season. Opponents are batting just 0.203 off Richards in 2019, but they have made their hits count.

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The Cubs need to take at least 3/4 in this series. Like I noted, the Marlins are a bad team and the Cubs swept them down in Miami last month. The Cubs are rolling right now and hope to make quick work of the Marlins before the Brewers come to town next weekend.