At 3-3, the record of Henderson Alvarez isn't that impressive this season. Shocking though is all of the wins for the Miami Marlins right-hander have come via shutout.
Alvarez makes his 13th start of the season this afternoon when Miami tries to avoid a three-game series sweep to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Alvarez not only paces the majors in shutouts, the 24-year-old paces the Marlins in ERA (2.62). He's coming off a 1-0 blanking of the Tampa Bay Rays in Miami on Tuesday. Alvarez allowed eight hits and fanned five without walking a batter. Prior to that, he had three consecutive no-decisions.
There is one positive stat that has eluded Alvarez this season ... a road victory. He is 0-2 with a 4.13 ERA in six away starts compared to 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in his six home appearances this season. Alvarez hasn't posted a road triumph since Sept. 14 last season against the Mets in the opener of a doubleheader.
The only start for Alvarez against the Cubs resulted in a victory at Wrigley Field last Sept. 2.
Jake Arrieta, who has received little run support his last two starts, counters on the mound for the Cubs. The righty allowed just one run over 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday against the Mets in a no-decision. He threw 105 pitches in that contest. Before that, on May 27, came a 4-0 loss at San Francisco.
The Marlins are one of eight teams Arrieta has never faced in his career.
A win today would not only give the Cubs their second straight three-game sweep, but a sixth consecutive victory for the first time since July 31 - Aug. 6, 2011 when they won seven in a row.
Junior Lake homered twice in Chicago's 5-2 win yesterday. Lake's solo homers, as well as a two-run shot by Emilio Bonifacio, backed a terrific outing from starter Jeff Samardzija (2-5), who struck out eight and allowed a pair of runs on five hits over seven innings.
"I really love how we're playing right now as a team in all phases," Samardzija said. "I love the way we're swinging it right now and as a pitcher it gives you a lot of confidence to go out there and pound the zone."
Randy Wolf (1-2), who picked up his first win since Sept. 13, 2012 last time out, was roughed up for four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in this one. Christian Yelich went 2-for-4 with a home run for Miami, losers in two straight following a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
"I thought he pitched alright," Miami manager Mike Redmond said of Wolf. "He kept us in the game. He gave us a chance."
Chicago, which has won eight of its last nine home games, has beaten the Marlins in eight of the last 11 meetings.