The Chicago Cubs will look to stave off elimination here after dropping the opening game of their series to the Miami Marlins. Yu Darvish will start for Chicago in this win or go home game, while Miami will send Sixto Sanchez to the mound. Oddsmakers have Chicago as a favorite for this one, which will be televised by ABC.
Marlins Pick Up Huge WinThe Miami Marlins just keep defying the odds. Expected to once again be one of the worst teams in the league in 2020, they then became the first team hit with a COVID-19 outbreak. Despite all that they kept winning games, and snuck into the playoffs at 31-29. I must admit I thought the Cubs would make quick work of them, but Miami picked up a huge Game 1 win on Wednesday. That being said they didn't escape unscathed, as outfielder Starling Marte fractured his pinkie after being hit by a pitch. Marte is one of the best hitters in this weak Miami lineup, and if he can't go on Thursday it would be a massive loss.
The Marlins have very little pop in their lineup, as evidenced by their team OPS of .703. As they look to close out this series, they'll go with 22-year-old rookie Sixto Sanchez on the mound. The Dominican flashed a lot of potential in his first seven big league starts, but he fell apart down the stretch. In his last two outings entering the playoffs he gave up a combined nine earned runs. Being so young, it's fair to wonder how he'll perform on the road under postseason pressure. If he gets chased early that's bad news, since the Marlins ranked 26th in the league during the regular season with a bullpen ERA of 5.50.
Win Or Go Home For CubbiesWell the Chicago Cubs certainly had a letdown on Wednesday. As a pretty heavy favorite against the Marlins they fell flat on their faces, losing 5-1 and only putting up four hits in the process. Kyle Hendricks pitched six innings of shutout ball, then fell apart in the seventh. It's now win or go home time for Chicago, and they'll turn to Yu Darvish on the mound here as they look to stave off elimination. Fortunately for their prospects Darvish has been downright fantastic this season, with a 2.01 ERA through 12 starts.
He finally reached his ceiling, and it's been the best stretch of his career. In his last start before the postseason, he pitched seven scoreless innings while only giving up three hits to the White Sox. Not surprisingly given his numbers, the Cubs went 9-3 in his outings this year. In two starts against Miami last year, he only gave up three total runs. Even with the loss on Wednesday, the Cubs are still 18-6 in their last 24 games agains the Marlins. The lineup was extremely quiet, and they need Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to get it together here. Fortunately for this offense, they'll get to face a rookie who struggled entering the playoffs.
- 10-4 in their last 14 playoff games as a favorite
- 6-18 in their last 24 games vs. Cubs