Cubs send Jameson Taillon to face Marlins in series opener

Field Level Media

April 19, 2024 at 3:11 am.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon will finally make his season debut on Friday when the host Chicago Cubs open a four-game set with the Miami Marlins.

Taillon was originally supposed to pitch on Thursday, but with storms set to roll in, Chicago’s game against Miami was postponed. The Cubs and Marlins will now play a split doubleheader on Saturday.

But first Taillon will attempt to start the year on a high note after an up-and-down 2023 campaign.

After a strong season with the New York Yankees in 2022, Taillon took a step back with Chicago in 2023, going 8-10 with a 4.84 ERA. He went 4-6 with a 4.62 ERA at home, and only one of those wins came before the All-Star break.

Activated from the 15-day injured list on Thursday, Taillon (back) is 2-0 with a glistening 0.54 ERA in three career starts against Miami.

Chicago could benefit from an extended outing from Taillon, as Cubs starters have worked six innings on just three occasions across the first 18 games of the season.

Reliever Hayden Wesneski helped save Chicago’s bullpen on Wednesday, going four innings in a 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Michael Busch stayed hot at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He has hit safely in seven of his past eight games, posting a .379 average (11-for-29) during that stretch.

“It’s definitely a combination of everything,” Cubs hitting coach Dustin Kelly said of what’s working for Busch at the plate. “When you swing at good pitches and you have the power and the contact ability that he has, he’s going to hit the ball pretty hard.”

Left-hander A.J. Puk (0-3, 5.91 ERA) will try to slow down Busch and the Cubs when he makes his fourth start of the campaign on Friday.

Puk had never started a game prior to this season, and he hasn’t had a smooth transition into his new role.

In each of his first three outings this year, Puk has lasted no longer than 4 2/3 innings, a mark he reached on April 9 in a loss to the New York Yankees. Puk yielded two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks against New York.

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

The Marlins’ offense hasn’t made life easy for Puk, scoring two runs in each of his three starts. It was also quiet on Wednesday, notching six hits in a 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

Even though Miami has won just four of its first 19 games, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker has been pleased with his team’s effort.

“These guys are fighting their tails off and working and we’re just not seeing the wins,” Schumaker said. “That’s the most frustrating thing.”

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

The Marlins and Cubs met six times last season, with Miami coming away with four victories.

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