After two straight improbable one-run wins, the pesky Miami Marlins look to sweep the Chicago Cubs right out of south Florida in an early Sunday matinee. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. ET. The Cubs will look to their ace, Justin Steele (4-0, 1.19 ERA), to stop the bleeding, while Bryan Hoeing (0-1, 9.82) will make another start for the Marlins while Trevor Rogers and Johnny Cueto remain out.
The Cubs are are currently -165 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Marlins are +140 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Cubs-Marlins picks: Sunday, April 30
Out: SP Jameson Taillon (groin), SP Kyle Hendricks (shoulder), RP Ethan Roberts (elbow), RP Codi Heuer (elbow)
Out: SP Trever Rogers (forearm), RP JT Chargois (oblique), 2B Joey Wendle (oblique), SP Johnny Cueto (biceps), RP Tommy Nance (shoulder), RP Nic Enright (cancer), RP Anthony Bender (elbow), SP Max Meyer (elbow)
Justin Steele vs. Bryan Hoeing
Steele has made good on everyone who pegged him as a breakout candidate this season after posting a 3.18 ERA over 119 innings last season. The lefty’s strikeout rate has gradually increased and his walk rate has gradually decreased each year since 2021, and he uses one of the game’s nastiest sliders to generate weak contact consistently. Steele is basically a two-pitch pitcher, alternating between that slider and a low-90s fastball that Steele consistently gets in on the hands of right-handed batters. He’s allowed two or fewer runs and gone at last 5.1 innings in every outing this year.
Hoeing has been thrust into the Marlins’ rotation after Trevor Rogers landed on the IL, and things haven’t gone great: The 26-year-old’s walk rate is as high as his strikeout rate, while his sinker is getting lit up to the tune of a .821 expected slugging percentage. A former reliever, Hoeing only throws that sinker and a slider, and while he commands them well enough, they just don’t have enough life to miss bats at the MLB level (his fastball is in the bottom five percent of the league in spin rate). He gave up four runs on six hits in 3.2 innings of work in his 2023 debut against the Atlanta Braves.
Steele on the mound makes me nervous about taking the over, but there’s a chance this Cubs offense could clear this number by themselves given Hoeing’s struggles — if we can get just two or three runs from the Marlins we should be in the clear.
Pick: Over 8
One of the best pitchers in baseball right now looking to help his team avoid a humiliating sweep against a mediocre journeyman? Yeah, our money is on what should be a highly motivated Cubs team.