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Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies preview, Sunday 9/2, 12:35 CT

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The Cubs will be facing one of the N.L.’s best pitchers Sunday in their attempt to win this series.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

46 years ago today, Milt Pappas threw a no-hitter for the Cubs against the Padres. It’s the last no-hitter thrown by a Cub at Wrigley Field.

Until the day he passed away about two years ago, Pappas would tell anyone he met that Bruce Froemming deprived him of a perfect game by calling a close 3-2 pitch ball four on what would have been the last out. He was likely right, too. (There’s video at that link.)

Sunday notes:

  • The Cubs are now more than halfway through their current stretch of 23 games in 23 consecutive days. They’re 9-3 in the 12 games so far.
  • The Cubs reached 80 wins Saturday night in Game 135 on September 1. Last year, the Cubs didn’t reach 80 wins until Game 146 on September 14.
  • Javier Baez’s RBI Saturday night gave him 99 RBI to go along with his 29 home runs. One more HR and RBI will make him the fifth Cub to record a 30-homer, 100-RBI campaign before or in their age-25 season. The previous four: Ernie Banks (1955), Ron Santo (1964, 1965), Anthony Rizzo (2015) and Kris Bryant (2016).
  • Cubs starting pitchers have a 2.36 ERA (24 earned runs in 91⅔ innings) in their last 16 games starting August 16 after posting a 5.01 ERA in their 16 starts prior to this stretch.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

This is KB’s fifth start in right field this year.

Phillies lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Aaron Nola, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester hit a rough patch after the All-Star break, but over his last three starts: 2.04 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, just four walks and one home run in 17⅔ innings.

He has not faced the Phillies since May 2, 2017 and has not pitched in Citizens Bank Park since June 6, 2016. Most of the Phillies who played in those games are not on the team anymore, and so the Phillie he’s faced most is Jose Bautista, who is 14-for-65 (.215) with five home runs off Jon. Bautista, though, is nearing the end of his career and likely isn’t that player anymore. Overall current Phillies are hitting .218 (34-for-156) against Jon with 40 strikeouts.

And in his career, Jon has been excellent against the Phillies. He is 7-0 with a 1.64 ERA (11 earned runs in 60⅓ innings) in nine career regular-season starts vs. the Phillies. His 1.64 ERA against Philadelphia is the lowest among all active pitchers (minimum 40 innings). He has seven quality starts against the Phillies and has thrown at least innings in six of his nine outings against them, and is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA (five earned runs in 35 innings) in five starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ No. 1 pick in 2014 (seventh overall, three picks after Kyle Schwarber) has had a breakout season and is a strong Cy Young contender.

Since the All-Star break he has a 1.70 ERA and 0.925 WHIP in eight starts.

Nevertheless, the Cubs did hit him June 6 at Wrigley Field, four hits, four walks and three runs in six innings, including a home run by Anthony Rizzo.

And since then the Cubs have added Daniel Murphy, who is hitting .346 lifetime (9-for-26) against Nola with three doubles, a triple and a home run.

Perhaps this offense can get to Nola this afternoon.

Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on TBS (outside the Chicago and Philadelphia markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight. If you do go there to interact with Phillies fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.