CHICAGO (CBSMiami/Gracenote) – The Chicago Cubs were expected to turn their season around. The Miami Marlins were not.
The defending World Series champion Cubs look to match their season high with a fourth consecutive victory when they host the Marlins for the opener of a three-game series Monday.
Chicago has failed to live up to expectations during its title defense and had slipped two games below .500 after going 0-6 on a West Coast trip last week.
The Cubs’ fortunes looked up over the weekend, though, as they swept rival St. Louis in a three-game set to pull within a game of first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central.
The Marlins have won three straight and seven of their last eight, but they haven’t won a series on the road since taking two of three at San Diego from April 21-23.
Miami was swept in a three-game series in its last trip to Wrigley Field last August, as the Cubs took down the Marlins on the front end of an 11-game winning streak.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Dan Straily (4-3, 3.56 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Eddie Butler (2-1, 4.42)
Straily has been the Marlins’ most consistent starter, and he’s won his last three starts.
The 28-year-old struck out 10 in a win over Philadelphia last time out, allowing two runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings.
Straily, who briefly pitched for the Cubs in 2014, is 1-1 with a 6.11 ERA in four games (three starts) against his former team.
Butler has struggled to find consistency in four starts since being called up.
The 26-year-old was tagged for six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss at San Diego last time out – the first time he has allowed more than two runs but the third straight start he failed to pitch past the fifth inning.
Butler is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA in two games (one start) against the Marlins.
- Cubs 3B Kris Bryant is 4-for-7 with a double and two home runs against Straily, while OF Jason Heyward is 4-for-8 versus the right-hander.
- Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton is 10-for-23 with three homers during a seven-game hitting streak.
- Chicago rookie OF Ian Happ hit a pair of home runs in Sunday’s 7-6 win over St. Louis, and 10 of his 16 major-league hits have been for extra bases.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Gracenote contributed to this report.)