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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Phillies series preview

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field after winning four of five on the road.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Cubs lost two of three in Philadelphia last month, one of the losses a blowout, the other a rare bullpen failure by Adbert Alzolay. Since that series the teams have had similar marks: The Phillies are 18-13 over that span and the Cubs 17-13.

For more on the Phillies, here’s Ethan Witte, who runs our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight:

The Phillies come into the Cubs series having played much better baseball since the last time they met. When Chicago left town, the Phillies were barely below .500 and looked the part. Now, they’re three games over the .500 mark, thanks largely to a starting pitching rotation that has been among the best in the game in the month of June. Since May 22 in fact, the rotation has an ERA of 3.47, second in the game to only the Marlins during that same stretch of playing time. Ranger Suarez, Aaron Nola and Taijuan Walker are expected to make the starts in Chicago and they have been very good during this time period.

The same can’t be said for the offense. For a team that has been built to mash the ball, power has been in short supply for the Phillies, led by a strange power slump by Bryce Harper. He’ll get a small pass due to his early return from Tommy John surgery, but he and the rest of the team need to figure out how to start putting baseballs over the fence soon.

Fun facts

The Cubs’ principal rival has changed several times throughout their long history. Since 1901, it has been the Pirates, then the Giants, then the Mets, then the Cardinals. It never has been the Phillies.

The Cubs and Phillies were in the single National League, then the same division, from 1901-93.

During that time, the Cubs won 12 pennants or NL East titles. In those seasons, the Phillies finished as high as third only once, and that year they trailed by 21½ games. The average difference between the clubs was 29 games.

In the nine seasons when the Cubs finished second, the Phillies’ best finish was fourth, 19.5 games behind. The average difference was 28 games.

The Phillies finished first nine times. The Cubs wound up as high as third in just one of those years, 11 games to the rear. The average difference was 20 games.

And in the eight seasons when the Phillies were second, the Cubs came in third once, just one game further back — 110 years ago, in 1913. On average, they lagged 16 games behind.

The Cubs’ .525 winning percentage against the Phillies since 1901 is their second highest against any pre-expansion NL opponent. They are .544 against the Braves.

(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Tuesday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (2-5, 6.71 ERA, 1.547 WHIP, 5.18 FIP) vs. Ranger Suárez, LHP (1-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.282 WHIP, 3.20 FIP)

Wednesday: Drew Smyly, LHP (7-4, 3.38 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 4.34 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola, RHP (6-5, 4.38 ERA, 1.073 WHIP, 4.06 FIP)

Thursday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (3-2, 2.60 ERA, 0.981 WHIP, 3.55 FIP) vs. Taijuan Walker, RHP (8-3, 4.10 ERA, 1.236 WHIP, 4.51 FIP)

Times & TV channels

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, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Phillies market territories)


Well, c’mon. I just got back from London. You don’t expect me to be able to focus on this series yet, do you?

Oh. I guess you do. Okay. With this series featuring two starting rotations that have done very well recently, these figure to be low-scoring games. That might feed into the Cubs’ recent tendency to win games via small ball and long-sequence offenses.

The Cubs will continue their recent good play by taking two of three.

Up next

The Cubs host the Cleveland Guardians in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Phillies?

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  • 11%
    (20 votes)
  • 48%
    (83 votes)
  • 30%
    (51 votes)
  • 9%
    (16 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now