Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#903 Chicago Cubs -135 vs.
#904 Miami Marlins 8
Monday, April 15, 2019 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s the opening game of a set between teams looking to climb toward the .500 mark down in South Beach. The Chicago Cubs are on the road as they open a three-game set with the Miami Marlins Monday night. Chicago was rained out Sunday afternoon, leaving them with a split of a shortened weekend set with the Angels: they fell 6-5 on Saturday afternoon. Miami played the rubber game of a three-game set with the Phillies at home Sunday, losing 3-1 in 14 innings. The Cubs took five of seven meetings last season though the teams split four meetings at Marlins Park.

Chicago Cubs Hoping to Gain Ground in NL Central

Chicago was washed out in the finale of their set Sunday by inclement weather, giving them an unexpected off day. The Cubs entered Sunday’s action four games behind the Brewers in the NL Central race. Chicago trailed 3-0 after an inning and half and couldn’t get back to even in the contest. Javier Baez (two RBI) led the Cubs with three hits while Jason Heyward (run, RBI) added a pair in the game. The Cubs had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth but Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber fanned to end the game: Schwarber was ejected after arguing a called third strike on a check swing to end it. Kyle Hendricks (0-3) took the loss as he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings.

Yu Darvish is in line to make his fourth start of the year for the Cubs in this contest hoping to get on track. He is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA, a 1.917 WHIP, 11 walks and 10 strikeouts over 12 innings of work this season. Darvish took the loss in his last start, which was Wednesday at home against Pittsburgh. He threw 5.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in a game the Cubs dropped 5-2. Darvish makes his fourth career start against the Marlins in this contest. He is 1-1 with a 7.94 ERA, a 1.588 WHIP, seven walks and 19 strikeouts over 17 innings of work. Darvish didn’t factor in the decision in his lone career start at Marlins Park, which came with the Cubs on March 31, 2018. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a game the Cubs won 10-6 in 10 innings.

Miami Marlins Looking to Get Untracked

Miami’s offense dried up after a 10-run outburst in Saturday’s middle game of the set against the Phillies as they mustered a single run on Sunday. The Marlins entered Sunday six games behind the Mets and Phillies in the NL East race. Miami finished with just five hits in the game with Neil Walker having two: Brian Anderson hit his second homer in the contest to account for their lone run. Jose Urena pitched well but ended up with a no-decision on the mound: he threw seven innings, allowing one run on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) took the loss in relief as he gave up two runs on two hits with a pair of strikeouts in one inning of relief.

Trevor Richards takes the mound for his fourth start of the season for the Marlins in this contest. He is 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA, a 1.111 WHIP, 10 walks and 18 strikeouts over 18 innings of work this season. Richards recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came against the Reds on the road Wednesday. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing one hit with five walks and seven strikeouts in a game the Marlins lost 2-1. Richards, in his 29th major league start, pitches against the Cubs for the first time in his career. He is 3-5 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.192 WHIP, 27 walks and 73 strikeouts over 74.2 innings in 14 career starts at Marlins Park.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Miami has struggled at the plate this season and that’s been a major issue for them in the early going. Even when they get a good start on the mound, as they did from Urena Sunday, the bats were silent. Chicago had an unexpected day off Sunday but they know that they can hit with the best teams in the league. Darvish has to get himself on track and facing a team that doesn’t have much in the way of pop is a good way to do that. Look for the Cubs to prevail here as Darvish gets his first win of the season.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs -125

Full-Game Total Pick

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Chicago has been very good at the plate, averaging 6.14 runs per game while posting a .272 team batting average in the first couple weeks of the season. While the pitching has been a problem, the Cubs have gotten solid starts of late from Jose Quintana and Cole Hamels. If they can get Darvish and Hendricks going while getting Jon Lester back from the injured list, they could be okay. Miami is averaging only 2.88 runs per game while hitting .232 as a team on the year. Can the Marlins come up with a bit of offense to get the win here?

The over is 13-3 in the Cubs’ last 16 road games vs. a right-handed starter, 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15 and 16-5 in their last 21 road games. Miami has seen the over go 5-0 in their last 5 home games, 6-1 in their last 7 during game 1 of a series and 4-0-1 in Richards’ last 5 starts with 4 days of rest. Richards has decent numbers but he issues his fair share of free passes and the Cubs are patient. Look for Chicago to unleash some frustration at the plate to help push this one over the total.

Prediction: Over 8

First Five Innings Side Pick

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Miami’s offensive production has been cause for concern all season long and that’s made them waste solid starting performances. One need look no further than Richards’ last start as he blanked the Reds on one hit before losing by allowing a pair of runs in the eighth. Chicago has gotten their offense going early in games of late and that works in their favor here. Look for the Cubs, even with Darvish’s wildness, to get the upper hand after five innings of play.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs

First Five Innings Total Bet

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This is more about the Cubs being able to hit, putting runners on base and cashing them in as much as it is about Darvish’s struggles. Chicago is looking to get better showings from their starting pitchers, though his bullpen could be better as well. Miami has struggled offensively as they sputter to get guys on base. The Marlins were just five for 45 against the Phillies in the loss on Sunday and that has to be concerning. Still, until Darvish shows he can put zeroes on the board, you have to lean toward this being over the number after five frames.

Prediction: Over

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.