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Miami Marlins vs Chicago Cubs MLB Picks and Predictions for Thursday, April 18

Miami Marlins vs Chicago Cubs MLB game preview, picks, and predictions for Thursday April 18, 2024 at 7:40pm et.

Marlins vs Cubs:

When: 7:40 PM ET, Thursday, April 18, 2024
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Right-hander Jameson Taillon will hope Chicago feels more like home when he makes his season debut on Thursday in the opener of a four-game set between the Cubs and the visiting Miami Marlins.

After a strong season with the New York Yankees in 2022, Taillon signed with Chicago ahead of the 2023 campaign, but he never really found his footing last year.

Taillon went 8-10 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 appearances for the Cubs, with nine of his 29 starts being deemed as quality. He went 4-6 with a 4.62 ERA at home, and only one of those wins came before the All-Star break.

The Cubs are expected to activate Taillon (back) from the 15-day injured list on Thursday morning.

In three career starts against Miami, Taillon is 2-0 with a glistening 0.54 ERA.

Getting Taillon back will be a boost for a Chicago club that is working with a bit of a makeshift bullpen. Hayden Wesneski and Colten Brewer were both brought up from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday after the Cubs had consecutive games against the Arizona Diamondbacks go into extra innings.

“We just need innings for the game today,” Chicago manager Craig Counsell said ahead of the Cubs’ 5-3 win over Arizona on Wednesday. “We have to have able pitchers today and, really, just through the weekend here.”

Wesneski delivered on Wednesday in his first major league outing of the season, throwing four innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. He allowed one hit and no walks while striking out two.

Counsell hopes he can lean on the farm system as Chicago continues a stretch of 10 games in 10 days.

“For these guys at Triple-A, when you come up, you’ve got to be ready to do whatever,” Counsell said.

Perhaps a taxed Cubs pitching staff can lead to some offensive success for the Marlins, who have been held to three runs or fewer in 10 of 19 games this season.

Thae latest struggles at the plate came on Wednesday, when Miami fell 3-1 to the visiting San Francisco Giants. The Marlins totaled six hits, two of which came from Bryan De La Cruz.

De La Cruz is riding a six-game hitting streak in which he is 9-for-25 (.360) with two home runs, nine RBIs and three doubles.

“He’s making better pitch selections throughout the game, using his lower half a little bit more efficiently, which gets him more power,” Miami hitting coach John Mabry told Bally Sports Florida. “So he’s been doing a real nice job of that.

“What a joy to be around. He’s such a nice kid. He’s very jovial. He’s in the clubhouse and everybody loves being around him. He’s just a great guy to be around.”

Now the rest of the lineup will attempt to get it going for left-hander A.J. Puk (0-3, 5.91 ERA), who is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season on Thursday. Puk was due to start Monday and then Wednesday before getting pushed back each time due to an illness.

Exclusively a reliever until this year, Puk has yet to work more than 4 2/3 innings in an outing in 2024. That’s how long he lasted against the Yankees on April 9, and he was tagged for two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks.

Puk is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in four career relief appearances against the Cubs.

–Field Level Media

MLB Picks and Predictions:

Miami Marlins vs Chicago Cubs Thursday Night Baseball game, I’m taking the Cubs Runline (+140).

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