Chicago at Miami

Venue: Marlins Park

Based on the way Carlos Villanueva has thrown the ball for the Chicago Cubs, they would appear to have a good chance to complete their first four-game series sweep in almost two years.

The veteran right-hander looks to continue his strong start while trying to help the visiting Cubs sweep the lowly Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Originally expected to be a stop-gap while starters Matt Garza and Scott Baker recovered from injuries, Villanueva (1-0, 1.53 ERA) has likely found a permanent home in Chicago's rotation. He's allowed five runs - four off solo homers - and struck out 21 with six walks in 29 1-3 innings over four starts.

However, he's been let down by a bullpen that failed to hold leads in three of those outings. That was the case in Tuesday's 4-2, 10-inning win at Cincinnati when Villanueva left with one out in the ninth but was charged with the tying run after Carlos Marmol allowed an RBI single.

"He's been outstanding," manager Dale Sveum told the Cubs' official website. "To stick with a game plan is the ultimate dream for a pitching coach and a manager to be able to say, 'Just do this and you'll get these guys out,' and he's able to pull it off."

Villanueva last faced the Marlins (5-19) out of the bullpen in 2010, but his last start against them came in 2008. He's 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts versus Miami.

He will try to help the Cubs (9-14) complete their first four-game sweep since Aug. 1-4, 2011, at Pittsburgh. Chicago has scored 11 runs in the first three of the set but allowed seven and won two by one run, including 3-2 on Saturday.

The Cubs have yielded 10 runs while winning four of five. That suspect bullpen has not been charged with a run over 12 innings during that stretch.

"The bullpen's been unbelievable this entire road trip," said Sveum, whose club is 4-5 on a 10-game trek.

David DeJesus had two hits, including a tiebreaking single in the seventh, to help Chicago to a fifth straight win over Miami. DeJesus is batting .324 (11 for 34) with four RBIs in his last 11 games.

Giancarlo Stanton hit an estimated 472-foot homer, his first of the season, for Miami.

The Marlins were last swept in a four-game home set by St. Louis from Aug. 4-7, 2011.

"We did some good things," manager Mike Redmond said, "but I feel like I'm saying the same thing every single night, and I really am, we're right there."

Stanton, who hit 71 homers the last two seasons, is batting .209, but has recorded all five of his RBIs in the last six contests.

Former Cubs prospect and scheduled Miami starter Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81) is 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA in seven starts against the team that drafted him in 2001, then traded him in a deal for Juan Pierre in 2005.

The right-hander yielded three runs in five innings of an 8-5 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader on a chilly night at Minnesota on Tuesday for Miami's most recent victory.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Carlos Villanueva, RHP
2013 stats
29.1 Innings Pitched 28.1
1-0 Wins-Losses 1-2
1.53 Earned Run Average 3.81
6 Walks 7
21 Strikeouts 19
93 Pitches Per Start 99
Career vs. opponent
18.2 Innings Pitched 47.1
1-1 Wins-Losses 4-2
5.79 Earned Run Average 2.85

Ricky Nolasco, RHP
weather image  Morning clouds. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Chi Cubs 00.000-0-0-
Miami 00.000-0-0-

Related Video

Game Odds
Chi. Cubs -105 Miami -105
Chi Cubs
A. AcevedoKnee
D. BeelerElbow
A. BrooksHip
A. CrowElbow
J. HammelElbow
Z. RosscupShoulder
C. VillanuevaAnkle
M. ZagunisFoot
T. KolekElbow
Series Game Log
Apr 3WAS 1:05 PM EDT  
Apr 5WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Apr 6WAS 4:05 PM EDT  
Jun 19MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Jun 20MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Jun 21MIA12:10 PM EDT  
Jul 31MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 1MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 2MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 7WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 8WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 9WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 10WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 28WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 29WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 30WAS 4:05 PM EDT  
Sep 4MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 5MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 6MIA 7:10 PM EDT