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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Phillies series preview

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This ought to be fun.

Jake Arrieta after a video tribute to him June 5, 2018 at Wrigley Field
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Liz Roscher, who was the proprietor over at our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight, used to write hilarious missives for me to post here in my series preview.

Liz has moved on to become a fulltime writer/editor at Yahoo Sports. Never fear, though: Justin Klugh, who has succeeded Liz as Supreme Blog Lord (yes, that is his actual title) at The Good Phight, has agreed to provide us with his thoughts about the Phillies. Enjoy.

The Phillies and Cubs were the featured players in one of the most fondly recalled regular season baseball games of all time in 1979, the anniversary of which just passed. You know the one: the 23-22 Phillies win in which both teams took turns bashing each other and the only reason the game ended was because the ball had been worn down to a single thread. That game that I’m pretty sure became the reason the word “slugfest” was invented was actually the finale of a three-game set in Chicago. The Cubs had gone 4-14 against the Phillies in 1978, so winning game one of the series was a little boost for them, especially because they did so largely because of three players they’d acquired from the Phillies during the offseason in exchange for Manny Trillo: Barry Foote, Jerry Martin, and Ted Sizemore, all of whom invoked a light-hearted sense of retribution against their former team. Foote hit a grand slam, Martin had a three-hit day, and Sizemore made an exquisite defensive stop. “I think the whole club was jacked up,” Martin said after the 7-1 victory.

The next night, the Phillies collected themselves, reflected on past mistakes, and it was they who did the jacking, pummeling the Cubs 13-0. Steve Carlton pitched a three-hitter and, in classic Steve Carlton fashion, refused to talk to reporters about it as they chased him for comment.

This series embodied the spirit of any Philadelphian: Revenge, regret, and refusing to talk about your feelings. If we were ever going to see a sequel to this story, it would probably be now, and I’m hoping that’s what this series will produce: A game in which these two teams just go ham on each other; a pair of weaponized lineups playing in an age in which the league just uses a tennis ball painted white. These teams — and this has mainly been the Phillies’ fault — haven’t simultaneously sported lineups with the potential to each produce 20 runs in quite some time. Sure, the Phillies did it last year, but that was in a game against the Marlins, the statistics generated by which don’t qualify as “major league” anymore. Our two cities are known for rudeness and novelty, grease-based foods, but both teams have won enough to rid themselves of any lingering franchise hexes. I would say with Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and Willson Contreras against Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins, this may be our best chance in a long time to watch two offenses try to overpower each other and give us a new classic game to talk about. Over the last 40 years, the Phillies have changed, the Cubs have changed, and Philadelphians — well, just ask for somebody’s feelings about Bryce Harper on the Broad Street Line down to the game. They’ll probably feel like talking a little more.

Fun fact

Hey, look! Our old buddy Sean Rodriguez is on the Phillies this year. Sean’s been around so long that one of his teammates his rookie year was Darren Oliver, who made his MLB debut in 1993.

And just so you’ll never forget Sean:

Pitching matchups

Monday: Yu Darvish, RHP (2-3, 5.14 ERA, 1.619 WHIP, 5.54 FIP) vs. Jake Arrieta, RHP (4-4, 4.02 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, 4.68 FIP)

Tuesday: Jose Quintana, LHP (4-3, 3.68 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 3.81 FIP) vs. Zach Eflin, RHP (5-4, 2.89 ERA, 1.089 WHIP, 4.00 FIP)

Wednesday: Cole Hamels, LHP (4-0, 3.13 ERA, 1.152 WHIP, 4.00 FIP) vs. Cole Irvin, LHP (2-0, 2.77 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 3.49 FIP)

Thursday: Jon Lester, LHP (3-2, 2.09 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 2.99 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola, RHP (4-0, 4.47 ERA, 1.548 WHIP, 4.42 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Phillies market territories)

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, WGN, ESPN (no blackouts)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Phillies market territories)

Thursday: 1:20 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago

Prediction

The Phillies are 23-13 vs. RH starters and 4-6 vs. LH starters, though they have hit each side about equally well (.750 OPS vs. LHP, .736 vs. RHP). Thus, just because I feel like it and the Cubs have three lefties going in this series, I’ll say the Cubs will take three of four.

Up next

The Cubs host a rematch with the Reds, a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Phillies?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    4
    (31 votes)
  • 34%
    3
    (127 votes)
  • 48%
    2
    (181 votes)
  • 6%
    1
    (23 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (11 votes)
373 votes total Vote Now