Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
Where to watch: Marquee Sports Network, NBCSP
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Phillies -165, Cubs +145
Cubs: 65-79 (4th place, NL Central)
Phillies: 72-71 (2nd place, NL East)
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Cubs - Phillies preview and analysis
Cubs: Lost 3 straight
Phillies: 3-7 in last 10
Well, this was surely not the way the Philadelphia Phillies expected things to go down.
After a six-game winning streak and reeling off eight wins in 10 games, the Phillies responded with five losses in six games; two on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers, and a stunning stretch of losing three of four in the four-game series over the weekend to the Colorado Rockies in Philadelphia.
The Phillies failed to gain ground in the National League Wild Card race and sit 2.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds for that coveted second spot. Philly has a massive three-game series at Citi Field starting Friday against the New York Mets, but the Phillies need to handle business against the Chicago Cubs in a three-game set that starts Tuesday at home.
What went wrong with Philadelphia this weekend has been the case for most of the season: the Phillies are getting hits and getting on base, but they’re not able to bring anybody home. On Sunday, Philadelphia had seven hits but only plated four runs, while the Rockies got five runs on nine hits. Garrett Hampson drove in all of those runs and hit two homers in the victory.
On Friday, when the Rockies won 11-2 thanks to a five-run ninth inning, Colorado got those 11 runs on 10 hits. Philadelphia could only muster two runs on eight hits.
With as much talent as there is on the Phillies, the runs should be a constant. But when they’re not scoring in a National League East that is still wide open with the Atlanta Braves only 4.5 games clear of the Phillies and five games clear of the Mets. Bryce Harper continues to put up MVP numbers for Philadelphia, but he may not be recognized for such work if the Phillies can’t get over the hump and into the postseason.
The Cubs entered the weekend having won eight of nine, including a seven-game winning streak, but were swept in the three-game series against the top-of-the-league San Francisco Giants in convincing fashion. San Francisco outscored Chicago 27-10 in the sweep, including a 15-4 thrashing at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
Chicago kept things close Sunday despite starter Justin Steele getting rocked (5 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB). The Cubs got two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t plate that third run for the comeback, losing 6-5. Five different players drove in a run, including Ian Happ. But he and centerfielder Rafael Ortega were the only ones to have two hits on Sunday.
Safe to say the Cubs running into the buzzsaw that was the Giants halted their week-long run of progress. Now hitting the road, let’s see how the Cubs respond and if they can find a way to close this season strong against a team they’ll likely lose to, but has a lot of questions.
Kyle Gibson will be tasked with throwing the first pitch on the mound for the Phillies. Gibson’s strong season has continued since being traded from the Texas Rangers; Gibson is now 10-6 with a 3.38 ERA. Since coming to Philly, Gibson is 4-3 with a 4.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.38. Those numbers likely inflated after giving up the eight runs Sept. 3 against the Miami Marlins, but other than that, he’s been solid.
Adrian Sampson will get the start for the Cubs. It will be his seventh appearance and only third start this season; he’s 0-2 with a 2.20 ERA. He threw five innings of two-run baseball his last start, Sept. 7 against the Cincinnati Reds.
It was understandable for the Phillies to lose the two on the road at Milwaukee, but the three to the Rockies was a shock. Is there such a thing as looking ahead in baseball? The Phillies better hope that’s not the case with the Mets on deck, because this playoff race will get more hectic in the final weeks. Phillies win 6-2.
The Cubs are 9-22 (-7.8 net games on the moneyline) when an underdog this season.
Chicago is 0-8 in the game following a stretch of seven or more consecutive home games.
Home teams are 10-1 (+9.6 ner games) this season when Gibson starts.
Cubs: RF Jason Heyward (head, day-to-day)
Phillies: 1B Rhy Hoskins (60-day IL, abdomen)
Players to watch
Cubs: Chicago right fielder Ian Happ has been the team’s best hitter in September. Now batting .223, Happ is at a .404 clip this month with five home runs and 11 RBI.
Phillies: Jean Segura has turned into a nice complementary piece in the Philadelphia lineup with Bryce Harper. Segura is batting .342 in the last 10 games with a .390 on-base percentage.
Rafael Ortega (L) CF
Frank Schwindel (R) 1B
Ian Happ (S) RF
Willson Contreras (R) C
Alfonso Rivas (L) LF
Matt Duffy (R) 3B
Sergio Alcantara (S) SS
David Bote (R) 2B
Adrian Sampson (R) P
Odubel Herrera (L) CF
Jean Segura (R) 2B
Bryce Harper (L) RF
Brad Miller (L) 1B
J.T. Realmuto (R) C
Didi Gregorius (L) SS
Freddy Galvis (S) 3B
Matt Vierling (R) LF
Kyle Gibson (R) P
Batting average: Ian Happ (.223)
Hits: Ian Happ (93)
Home runs: Patrick Wisdom (25)
RBI: Ian Happ (53)
Stolen bases: Rafael Ortega (8)
Wins: Kyle Hendricks (14)
Saves: Rowan Wick (3)
ERA: Kyle Hendricks (4.54)
Batting average: Bryce Harper (.307)
Hits: Jean Segura (133)
Home runs: Bryce Harper (32)
RBI: Bryce Harper (72)
Stolen bases: Bryce Harper (12)
Wins: Zack Wheeler (13)
Saves: Hector Neris (12)
ERA: Zack Wheeler (2.86)
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