Chicago Cubs (48-24) at Miami Marlins (39-35)
Saturday, June 25 - 4:10 PM EST
Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
With their longest losing streak of the season behind them, the Chicago Cubs look to begin a winning streak with a second straight victory over the host Miami Marlins on Saturday. The Cubs evened the four-game series with a 5-4 win Friday, ending their season-high four-game skid.
The Cubs hope to get a boost from the potential return of slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has missed the first two games of the series with lower back tightness. Chicago has several key players on the shelf with injuries, but the youth movement picked up the slack Friday with Javier Baez driving in a run and making an impact with his glove at third base while Willson Contreras knocked in three runs. The Marlins managed only two hits – one of them a Justin Bour grand slam – while losing for just the fourth time in 11 games. Miami has hit 11 home runs in its past eight games, including three in the first two games of the series.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH John Lackey (7-3, 2.78 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Paul Clemens (0-0, 5.40)
Lackey labored through the first two innings Monday against St. Louis but kept the Cubs in the game before suffering a tough-luck loss in a 3-2 defeat. The 37-year-old allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings for his 10th consecutive quality start. Lackey is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Marlins.
Clemens made his first big-league start since 2013 on Monday against Colorado. The 28-year-old surrendered three runs – all on solo homers – over five innings in a no-decision. Clemens made a relief appearance against the Cubs in 2013 and allowed a hit and a walk in one-third of an inning.
1. Contreras has hit safely in all six games in which he has had a plate appearance and is batting .412 with three home runs.
2. Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki, who needs four hits to tie Sam Rice (2,987) for 30th on the all-time MLB list, is a career .303 hitter in 119 plate appearances against Lackey.
3. The Cubs are 32-6 when scoring first and 45-0 when leading after eight innings.
PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Marlins 3