Cubs vs. Marlins schedule: MLB playoffs live stream, TV channel, start times for NL Wild Card Series

The Chicago Cubs won the NL Central on the strength of an exceptional start. They finished 34-26. It is their third NL Central championship in the past five seasons. As the three seed in the NL, the Cubs will now play a best-of-three at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field against the Miami Marlins, who went a rather shocking 31-29 in the regular season.

Here’s a look at when the Cubs and Marlins will be playing over the coming days:


Wed., Sept. 30

2 p.m.

RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Sandy Alcantara


CHC -157; MIA +147


Thurs., Oct. 1


RHP Yu Darvish vs. RHP Sixto Sanchez



3 (if necessary)

Fri., Oct. 2


TBD vs. RHP Pablo Lopez



And here are three things to know about this series.

Cubs haven’t seen much of Marlins arms

The Marlins are set to start Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.00), Sixto Sanchez (3-2, 3.46) and Pablo Lopez (6-4, 3.61) in the three games. The Cubs have never seen Sanchez, a rookie. They have seen Lopez once and that was April 16, 2019. They have faced Alcantara four times, but the most recent was May 6 last season. He is a much better pitcher than when they last faced him. 

The Cubs’ offense is full of big names and most of them have had terrible seasons compared to what the expectations were. Only Ian Happ and Jason Heyward were better than expected. Nearly everyone else (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, etc.) was worse. Seeing some live arms with which they aren’t very familiar could well lead to lots of empty innings. 

Chicago has pair of aces 

On the other side, the Cubs can run out Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01) and Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88) for the first two games of the series. Both pitchers are allowing fewer than a baserunner per inning pitched (Darvish, 0.961 WHIP; Hendricks, 0.996). Their styles are so different — with Darvish being a power pitcher eliciting so much swing-and-miss vs. Hendricks, a master of control and pitching to soft contact — that it is especially tough to deal with them on back-to-back days. With the Marlins ranking in the bottom half of the NL in on-base percentage and near the bottom in slugging and home runs, it seems like a tough ask to get them to string together a lot of hits against the Darvish-Hendricks duo. 

Perhaps the whole series will be low scoring. 

There’s history (not that it matters)

First things first, 2003 has absolutely nothing to do with 2020. No one of relevance with either team had anything to do with the 2003 NLCS and — especially since the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, breaking the faux-“curse” — we can’t possibly stress enough how much that series doesn’t mean anything for this one. 

However …

We’re about to be bombarded with the footage on the broadcast during at least Game 1 and probably throughout this series. Famously, the 2003 Cubs had a 3-1 series lead over the Marlins in the NLCS. Josh Beckett’s shutout in Game 5 seemed relatively harmless at the time, but then the eighth inning of Game 6 happened in Wrigley and the rest was Marlins history. Surely there are some Cubs fans who wouldn’t mind some measure of “revenge,” but it’s all just noise. I’m simply warning fans to be prepared for the broadcast footage (oh, and please leave a certain fan alone — it’s been 17 years, for the love of God). 

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