The Cubs enter in first place in the NL Central standings with a 39-30 overall record, and they’ve been tough to beat at Wrigley Field, where they have won 24 of their first 34 home games. Chicago owns a one-game advantage over the Milwaukee Brewers in the division race but its +38 run differential leads the division by a wide margin. Meanwhile, Miami has dropped four in a row to fall to last place in the NL East race. Heading into play on Friday, the Marlins sit 9.5-games back of the pace in the division standings with a 29-39 record.
Can the Cubs take down Miami at home on Saturday afternoon?
Lopez searching for bounce-back outing vs. CubsMiami is scheduled to send right-hander Pablo Lopez to the hill at Wrigley Field on Saturday. The 25-year-old is coming off of his shortest outing of the season after lasting just three innings in a loss versus the Atlanta Braves. Lopez gave up four earned runs and allowed six hits and two walks on the night. He comes in with a 2-4 overall record despite posting a strong 3.12 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 14 starts. Following a strong start to the 2021 campaign, the Marlins’ right-hander has completed less than five innings of work in two of his previous five outings.
Despite Lopez’s recent struggles, he’s still posted strong peripherals on the mound for the second straight season. He’s struck out 78 batters in 78 innings of work while walking just 2.42 batters per nine innings of work. Miami’s ace has also developed a penchant for throwing first-pitch strikes, something that he’s done a career-high 63.2 percent of the time this year.
This will be Lopez’s first start of the season against the Cubs. In his only career start against Chicago, the Marlins’ right-hander spun five innings of two-run ball but took a tough-luck loss on the night. Per Baseball Savant, current Cubs are batting .250 in 14 plate appearances off of Lopez ahead of Saturday’s start.
Arrieta looks to snap losing streak vs. MarlinsChicago will hand the ball to veteran hurler Jake Arrieta, who will try to turn things around after posting an 8.25 ERA through his first three June starts. The 35-year-old has compiled a 5-7 record with a 5.14 ERA in 13 starts but he hasn’t completed six innings in any of his last six starts. In his last trip to the mound, Arrieta suffered his third straight defeat and surrendered four runs in five frames in a loss versus the New York Mets.
At age 35, it’s become a pretty well-known fact that Arrieta’s best years are behind him. His ERA has increased in each of the last six seasons and he comes in allowing a career-worst 1.71 home runs per nine innings of work. The veteran righty is also walking hitters at his highest rate (3.86 BB/9) since the 2013 season.
The Cubs’ right-hander has dominated the Marlins over the course of his career. He’s made 12 career starts against them, sporting an 8-1 record and 3.64 ERA in those matchups. According to Baseball Savant, Arrieta has held the Marlins’ current roster to a slim .224 batting average in 113 plate appearances while striking them out a healthy 29.2 percent of the time coming into Saturday’s matchup.
- Marlins are 21-44 in their last 65 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
- Marlins are 16-36 in their last 52 vs. National League Central.
- Marlins are 19-45 in their last 64 during game 2 of a series.
- Cubs are 7-2 in their last 9 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Cubs are 21-6 in their last 27 home games.
- Cubs are 12-2 in their last 14 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Marlins entered this series riding a four-game slide while scoring a total of three runs over their last three games combined. While both of these starters have been trending downward as of late, Lopez has undoubtedly been the better pitcher this season. Despite posting a 2-4 overall record, the Marlins’ right-hander has surrendered two earned runs or fewer 11 times this season. Take Miami to come out on top on the road at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for nine runs but that total might be tough to reach on Saturday. Miami's offense has struggled to scrape runs across the plate over the last few games and Arrieta has been a much better pitcher at home (3.16 ERA) compared to on the road (6.51 ERA) this season. Lopez also appears due for a bounce-back effort after completing a season-low three innings in his last start against the Braves. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday.