Update: The start of the game has been delayed by weather
The Cubs have strung together two straight wins against a strong Marlins staff, largely because their own pitching has been excellent this weekend. They have a chance for a sweep with a win on Sunday, and they’ve got a good shot to do just that with Adrian Sampson on the mound. Imagine hearing that at the start of the season.
Sampson hasn’t been dominant by any stretch, but he’s pitching consistently and keeps the Cubs in games by limiting damage. While I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, particularly when it comes to him avoiding homers, he keeps surprising me. The margin for error remains slim because he tends to give up several hits and isn’t a big groundball pitcher.
The Marlins are looking for Jesús Luzardo to be their savior in this series, but they’ve lost his last three starts. The 24-year-old lefty gets a lot of whiffs and he’ll walk his fair share of batters as well, so this one may come down to how well the slider is working. He throws that breaking ball more than any other pitch, nearly 40% of the time, and it’s got more traditional low-to-mid-80s velo.
That stands in sharp contrast to his 97 mph fastball and 96 mph sinker, so the change of pace is just as important as the movement. That said, his 87 mph changeup has actually been his most effective pitch despite making up just 17% of his repertoire.
Luzardo has been murder on left-handed batters, holding them to a .125 average and .134 wOBA this season. We’re only talking about 25 batters, though, so those numbers could change in a hurry. Right-handed hitters are only batting .184, but they’ve tagged him for four homers and have a .310 wOBA. Again, Luzardo will be a very tough matchup for any hitters if he’s on his game.
Perhaps Nick Madrigal can show his teammates how it’s done as he leads off as the second baseman. Willson Contreras bats second as the DH, Seiya Suzuki is in right, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Nico Hoerner is the shortstop. Ian Happ is in left, Yan Gomes is catching, Frank Schwindel is at first, and Nelson Velázquez is in center.
First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 7, 2022