Cubs News

2023 Cubs Road Trip Preview: Miami and Washington D.C.

1 year agoAndy Martinez

After an extended homestand, the Cubs head East for a road trip featuring 3 games in Miami against the Marlins and a 4-game set in Washington D.C. against the Nationals.

The Cubs went 4-2 against both the Marlins and Nationals in 2022, taking 2 of 3 during each of the two series against both opponents. The Cubs lead the all-time series against the Marlins (113-105) and the Nationals (57-56).

The Marlins feature plenty of intriguing young players on their roster — including Jazz Chisholm Jr., Edward Cabrera and Jesús Luzardo. Former Cub and 2016 World Series champion Jorge Soler is with Miami, too.

The Nationals are in the midst of a rebuild, but some of the young players they acquired are starting to contribute at the big league level. MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams (Juan Soto trade) and Josiah Gray (Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade) are all on the big-league roster.

Pitching probables


Friday: RHP Marcus Stroman vs. LHP Jesús Luzardo

Saturday: TBD vs. RHP Edward Cabrera

Sunday: LHP Justin Steele vs. RHP Bryan Hoeing

Stroman will look to bounce back after his first tough outing of the year. The righty allowed 5 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings of work against the Dodgers. It was the first time in 5 starts that Stroman didn’t go at least 6 innings. He’s still been stellar this season for the Cubs, posting a 2.17 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 29 innings of work.

The Cubs haven’t officially announced a starter for Saturday’s outing as of Thursday, but one option is Caleb Kilian. The young righty was not listed as a probable starter for Triple-A Iowa this week, so he’d be rested and is on the 40-man roster. The righty struggled in his first start of the year but has allowed just 1 run on 7 hits with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 9 innings of work over his last two starts with Iowa.

Steele has been fantastic this season, leading the National League in ERA (1.19) and setting the tone for the Cubs in his outings.

The Cubs will miss 2022 NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara — he pitched an MLB-high 228.2 innings, throwing 6 complete games and posting a 2.28 ERA and a 0.980 WHIP. He’s struggled this season, posting a 5.04 ERA across 30.1 innings, but has a 1.154 WHIP.

Washington D.C.

Monday: LHP Drew Smyly vs. LHP MacKenzie Gore

Tuesday: RHP Hayden Wesneski vs. RHP Chad Kuhl

Wednesday: RHP Marcus Stroman vs. LHP Patrick Corbin

Thursday: TBD vs. RHP Josiah Gray

Smyly flirted with perfection against the Dodgers, but had to settle for 7.2 shutout innings of 1-hit ball. He followed that up with 2 runs over 5 innings against the Padres. Wesneski allowed just 1 run on 4 hits in 5 innings in the Cubs’ 5-2 win over the Padres on Thursday at Wrigley Field. 

The Cubs will potentially get a firsthand look at two of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects in Gray and Gore. Gore has pitched a 3.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 5 starts, while Gray has posted a 2.93 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in his 5 starts.

Quote of the week

After Steele’s latest strong outing on Tuesday, catcher Yan Gomes commented on what makes him so effective, especially relying on mostly a two-pitch mix in his fastball and slider.

“I think it’s a country-boy fastball,” Gomes said. “I think it comes out different. Obviously, the lefty angle, it’s gonna move a little bit different. But he has the ability of hiding it well and sometimes it looks like a slider, sometimes it goes up.

“It keeps guys [from] having the control [on] the inside part. The biggest thing for him is throwing strikes. I think he’s starting to understand that everything plays really well and the more confidence he starts getting on every pitch, not only his fastball, I think all the pitches in his arsenal are gonna work well.”

Storylines to keep an eye on

— Outfielder Cody Bellinger missed the Cubs’ series against the Padres after the birth of his daughter on Sunday. He was placed on the paternity list on Tuesday and is eligible to come off ahead of Friday’s opener. He’s been stellar for the Cubs this season, hitting .300/.380/.550 with 5 home runs, 15 RBI and a 154 OPS+. The Cubs recalled Nelson Velázquez to take his place on the roster and the righty has gone 3-for-8 with a home run on in that time.

— If Kilian is the starter on Saturday, the Cubs will have to make a roster move to bring him up. They’re currently only carrying four starters, but 13 pitchers, so a reliever will likely have to make room. The Cubs could choose to option Jeremiah Estrada, who was recalled during the homestand and has options. Julian Merryweather has had some struggles, but the Cubs like his electric stuff — and they’d have to pass him through waivers.

— Could Kyle Hendricks or Jameson Taillon return to the Cubs’ rotation on this road trip? It’s unlikely, but the Cubs have been noncommittal about how many rehab starts Hendricks would need before he returns. David Ross said there were “a lot of variables” in that decision. Taillon (left groin strain) is eligible to come off the injured list on Tuesday. He was hopeful his IL stint would be minimal, but it’s yet to be determined if he’s fully healed and if he’d need a rehab assignment when he is at full-go.

— The Cubs opened the season with 6 of their first 8 series against opponents expected to be in playoff contention and escaped with a 14-10 record and 5 series wins. The road trip kicks off a stretch of 10 games against the Marlins, Nationals and Marlins, again (at home). It’s a chance for the Cubs to continue their hot start and show they can compete in the NL Central.

— The trip to Nationals Park will be special for reliever Michael Rucker. The righty made his major league debut with the Cubs in Washington in 2021 after the trade deadline.

Don’t Miss Out On The Action!

Sign up for the Marquee Sports Network Newsletter today for all the latest Cubs news, plus upcoming Marquee programming and much more!

Newsletter Signup
Consent *
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.