A pair of slumping teams meet Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field as the Marlins open a three-game series against the Cubs.
Florida (23-27) had won seven of nine entering its weekend series against New York, but was outscored 19-8 in three straight losses.
The Cubs (22-26) return home after losing four of six at San Diego and Los Angeles. They have lost 10 of their last 13 games in California.
Starter Scott Olsen allowed four fourth-inning runs Sunday and the Marlins never recovered in a 6-4 loss that left them 9 1/2 games behind the East-leading Mets.
“We can get on a roll,” Olsen said. “That’s not an issue. … Obviously, you don’t want to get too far behind, but we’ve still got a lot of time. We’ve got four months. Four months. A lot can happen.”
An 11-game, 10-day road trip could be coming at the perfect time for the Marlins, who have won three straight and five of six away from home.
Catcher Miguel Olivo was one of the few Marlins that performed well against the Mets. He had two hits for the fourth straight game Sunday, making him 8-for-17 with a homer and two RBIs during that span. Olivo, though, is expected to get Monday off as backup Matt Treanor makes the start.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is expected to be back in the starting lineup after he had a rare day off Sunday. Ramirez, who entered Sunday as a pinch-hitter, was 0-for-10 in the series against the Mets.
Byung-Hyun Kim (2-2, 7.02 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season and his third since joining the Marlins. The right-hander hasn’t pitched particularly well in his first two outings with Florida, allowing seven runs and 11 hits with nine walks in 10 2-3 innings. He was reached for four runs and five hits with a career-high six walks over 5 1-3 innings Wednesday against Philadelphia.
Kim is 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs. He has, however, been far more effective versus Chicago as a reliever, allowing one unearned run with four saves in 11 appearances in 12 2-3 innings.
Chicago got a strong performance from starter Rich Hill, but the offense managed only seven hits in a 2-1, 11-inning loss Sunday to the Dodgers.
Angel Guzman took the loss, dropping the Cubs’ bullpen to 4-13 this season. They also fell to 1-5 in extra-inning games.
“I expect our bullpen to get better,” manager Lou Piniella said. “If our starting pitching can maintain, we’ll be in good shape with our pitching.”
Alfonso Soriano went 9-for-23 (.391) on the road trip, with a triple, a double, three walks and three RBIs. Soriano, though, only has 12 RBIs after 48 games after he had 32 at the same point in 2006.
Although he wasn’t rewarded with a win, Sean Marshall (0-1, 2.57) was outstanding in his season debut at San Diego on Wednesday. The tall left-hander gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings and struck out a career-high eight. He threw 105 pitches, proving that his shoulder—which was plagued by fatigue in spring training—is not an issue.
Marshall made two starts against the Marlins in 2006, pitching seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win at Wrigley Field on April 25 and allowing seven runs in 3 1-3 innings in a 9-1 road loss on May 22.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Marlins-Cubs Preview
- AP Source: Nationals CF Eaton out for season with hurt knee
- Gomez's cycle, Darvish's pitching lead Rangers to 6-3 win
- Nova tosses 3-hit shutout, Pirates win 4-0 over Marlins
- Cabrera, Abreu, Chisox beat Tigers 6-4 in 10, 6th win in row
- Red Sox ace Price throws simulated game; no date for return