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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Phillies series preview

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Maybe THIS series will go better.

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies had hoped to contend this year but haven’t, largely because of a bad bullpen. To find out just how bad, I asked Ethan Witte, who holds the title Supreme Blog Lord at our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight, to tell us about this year’s edition of the Phillies.

Last year, the story about the Phillies was their bullpen. It wasn’t just bad, it wasn’t just abysmal, it was historically bad and abysmal. In a season where more or less anyone could have made the postseason, the Phillies fell short because their bullpen was the antithesis of the Midas Touch.

This year, while they haven’t been as bad statistically, they’re subjectively almost there. They have blown more than 20 saves so far this year, something that has led to their being under .500 headed into this series in Chicago. That bad bullpen, a porous defense and some injuries to their stars has equaled perhaps the most underachieving team in baseball this year.

Bryce Harper doesn’t hit home runs with anyone on (all 13 of his HR are solo shots so far), J.T. Realmuto has really struggled of late and Alec Bohm has not had a good sophomore year. All in all, it’s been pretty disappointing this year, but hopefully, the series victory at home against the Padres can help springboard them to a hot finish before the All-Star break.

Fun fact

The Cubs and Phillies last played August 15, 2019, 690 days ago (and please don’t click on the boxscore link, don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Of the 29 players who played in that game, just 10 are still with the team they played for that night.

Probable pitching matchups

Monday: Zach Davies, RHP (5-5, 4.32 ERA, 1.428 WHIP, 4.54 FIP) vs. Matt Moore, LHP (0-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.671 WHIP, 5.86 FIP)

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-8, 5.57 ERA, 1.569 WHIP, 5.84 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola, RHP (5-5, 4.44 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 3.47 FIP)

Wednesday: Alec Mills, RHP (3-2, 4.85 ERA, 1.453 WHIP, 4.14 FIP) vs. Zack Wheeler, RHP (6-4, 2.05 ERA, 0.839 WHIP, 2.28 FIP)

Thursday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-8, 4.48 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, 4.97 FIP) vs. Zach Eflin, RHP (3-6, 4.13 ERA, 1.229 WHIP, 3.67 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, ESPN (outside the Cubs market territory)

Prediction

Honestly, I have no idea. The Cubs have played extremely well at home this year; they have the best home record of anyone in the NL Central. The Phillies are 15-26 on the road. There’s only one pitching matchup here that clearly favors the visitors, so I’ll say the Cubs will take three of four.

Also note, there are three pitchers named Zach (or Zack) scheduled for this series, but we didn’t get a single Zach(k) vs. Zach(k) matchup.

Up next

The Cubs host the Cardinals for 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

  • 9%
    4
    (17 votes)
  • 13%
    3
    (23 votes)
  • 37%
    2
    (64 votes)
  • 20%
    1
    (35 votes)
  • 18%
    0
    (32 votes)
171 votes total Vote Now