Pregame Notes: Cubs look to close out perfect home stand with win


Clutch hitting and solid work out of the bullpen have helped the Chicago Cubs to a five-game win streak. Today they’ll turn to Jake Arrieta to help close out the six-game home stand, looking for consecutive series sweeps since 2010, when the Cubs won six in a row in two 3-game series over the St. Louis Cardinals and then Florida Marlins.

The Cubs (25-34) have used the long ball to top Miami (3-3, 2.62) in the first two games of the series. The Cubs hit three yesterday, two from Junior Lakeand a key two-run shot from  Emilio Bonifacio. And of course the clutch extra inning game winning bomb from Anthony Rizzo on Friday.

Arrieta (1-1, 3.00) has pitched well, but has struggled to keep his pitch count down. In his last outing, he allowed only one run, but was only able to go 4 2/3 innings after throwing 105 pitches. After having tightness in his shoulder during spring training, the Cubs have been cautious with his pitch count. But the Cubs have been able to rely on a strong bullpen to keep the streak alive. The bullpen enters Sunday’s game with a 2.01 ERA in last 24 games (18 earned runs in 80 2/3 innings).

The Marlins will counter with Henderson Alvarez (3-3, 2.62), who is coming off his third shutout of the season. He needed only 88 pitches to dispense Tampa Bay.

While Alvarez has been sharp at home with a 3-1 record and a 1.47 ERA, on the road he has not been as effective (0-2, 4.13).

Today’s game will be broadcast on CSN, and WGN 720 will have the radio call for the 1:20 pm CT first pitch.

Here are the starting lineups for today’s contest: