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Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies preview, Sunday 5/21, 12:35 CT

The Cubs go for the series win.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Sunday notes...

  • BETTER CHECK THE CALENDAR: On weekdays, the Cubs are 17-13 and have outscored their opponents 166-97, for an average score of 5.5 to 3.2. On weekends, they are 3-12 and have been outscored 100-53, for an average score of 6.7 to 3.5. The Cubs have won the first game of seven of their eight weekend series (including the Thursday season opener, followed by a day off Friday). Then they have gone 2-6 on Saturday and 1-6 on Sunday, including losses the last four Sundays. They have gone WWL twice, WLW once, WLL twice and LLL once before this weekend. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • MAYBE DON’T GIVE UP THOSE EARLY RUNS?: The Cubs have allowed at least one run in the first inning of each of their last seven games (May 13-20), totaling 15 runs by the opponents in that span. The last time before now that the Cubs allowed first-inning runs in seven straight games was September 10-18, 1961, eight games in a row. That is the franchise record and was also done in 1893 and 1890.
  • HE’S HOT: Christopher Morel, 10 games played in MLB this year to date: .381/.409/.952 (16-for-42), three doubles, seven home runs, 14 runs scored. Also has a pretty good chance at NL Player of the Week — in five games so far this week Morel is batting .381/.435/1.048 (8-for-21), two doubles, four home runs, nine runs scored.
  • HE’S NOT: Ian Happ, last six games since May 14: .191/.280/.286 (4-for-21), 11 strikeouts.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Phillies lineup:

Justin Steele, LHP vs. Taijuan Walker, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing good lasts forever and so it was with Justin Steele’s streak of great outings, which ended with his most recent one Tuesday in Houston. That one wasn’t terrible — five hits, five runs in six innings from a good team — and he struck out eight. His ERA is still a good 2.44 and his season is already worth 1.8 bWAR.

Steele threw five innings of one-run ball against the Phillies July 22, 2022 at CBP. That’s not bad, but given the Cubs’ bullpen issues it would be nice if he went a couple innings deeper this afternoon.

Small sample sizes but Steele has been better in day games (five starts, 1.45 ERA) than night games (four starts, 3.70 ERA) so far this year.

In his first year in Philadelphia, Taijuan Walker is not having a good year, not at all. After posting a 4.97 ERA and 1.382 WHIP in five April starts, he’s been worse in four May outings: 9.00 ERA, 1.688 WHIP, four home runs in 16 innings.

Current Cubs are batting a small sample size .255 (13-for-51) against Walker with no home runs.

Walker is going on three days’ rest after throwing only 40 pitches last time out — but in that last start, he got absolutely torched by the Giants. Fun times.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Phillies market territories).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the first pitch thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, first pitch thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The first pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.