Marlins looking to recapture the past against the Cubs

Updated: August 14, 2008

Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Ryan Dempster will head to the mound Saturday against the Marlins' Anibal Sanchez.

WEEKEND PREVIEW

The Cubs seem to be doing everything right, but another tough test awaits them this weekend as the National League's best team travels to Miami to face the Marlins.

"SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL"

Phillies at Padres, 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Other weekend highlights include a couple of pennant-contending teams in the Brewers and Dodgers squaring off in Los Angeles and the red-hot Astros going up against the Diamondbacks.

Best series

Cubs at Marlins

The Cub and Marlins have split their four games this season, but from April 2006 to the end of 2007, the Marlins owned the series, winning 10 in a row. During that stretch, Florida outscored the Cubs by a whopping 70-30.

Cubs vs. Marlins, past 14 meetings
Previous 10 Past four
W-L 0-10 2-2
ERA 6.48 3.23
Runs per game 3.0 4.8
Marlins' runs per game 7.0 3.8

Best pitching matchup

D-backs (Randy Johnson 10-8) at Astros (Roy Oswalt 10-8), Sunday, 2:05 p.m. ET

Randy Johnson continues his run at 300 career wins, facing the red-hot Houston Astros and their ace, Roy Oswalt. Johnson enters at 294 wins, having earned a victory in six of his past seven starts. And this comes after going winless for nearly two months. Johnson is a perfect 4-0 against the Astros. Oswalt, meanwhile, hasn't lost since June, going 4-0 over his past six starts. Something has got to give as Oswalt is 6-1 in his career with a 2.57 ERA against the Diamondbacks.

Best (or worst) of the rest

Will the curse of actor, and huge Red Sox fan, Ben Affleck continue? The Red Sox have lost 10 straight on Affleck's birthday (Aug. 15, 1972) since "Good Will Hunting" opened in January of 1998. The past four losses have been one-run defeats, and eight of the losses have come at Fenway Park:

Red Sox's problems on Affleck's birthday
Year Opponent Losing score
2007 vs. Rays 6-5
2006 vs. Tigers 3-2
2005 at Tigers 7-6
2004 vs. White Sox 5-4
2003 vs. Mariners 10-5
2002 at Mariners 4-3
2001 vs. Mariners 6-2
2000 vs. Rays 3-1
1999 vs. Mariners 4-3
1998 vs. Twins 3-2

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Aug. 13 | Aug. 12 | Aug. 11 | Aug. 10 | Aug. 7 | Aug. 6


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THURSDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Mark Kotsay• The Braves couldn't slow down the Cubs, but then the Cubs couldn't slow down Mark Kotsay. Kotsay hit for the cycle as part of his 5-for-5 day in the Braves' 11-7 loss.
BAD
Rafael PerezRafael Perez served up the first four runs -- without recording an out -- as the Indians gave up eight runs to the Orioles in the eighth inning of an 11-6 loss.
UGLY
Tommy HunterTommy Hunter finished off an awful series for Texas pitching against the Red Sox by giving up all nine runs Boston posted in the second inning of a 10-0 Rangers loss. In three games at Fenway Park, the Rangers gave up 37 runs.

STAT OF THE DAY

Inside EdgeAccording to Inside Edge's scouting data, pitchers throw fewer strikes when runners are on base, but batters are more likely to get a hit in that situation. This season, the league batting average is .257 with the bases empty, and .269 with runners on base.

Strike pct. by base state
Group count Bases Empty Runners On
First pitch 59.6 57.1
Even 68.8 67.5
Pitcher's count 60.4 61.4
Hitter's count 68.5 63.0
Overall 63.3 61.5

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF FRIDAY'S GAMES

Tristan Cockcroft examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Friday's schedule.

Tristan also looks at current injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Friday's games. Daily Notes