This road trip sure started with a bang. The Cubs scored 13 runs in the series opener and followed that performance up with a nine-run outburst in the second game against the Reds. A late bullpen collapse kept the Cubs from sweeping their second straight opponent, but taking two of three from any team makes for a productive series.
Leading the charge has been Javy Baez, whose excellent defense is being complemented by great offense recently. In Tuesday’s contest, Baez started the rally with a bases-loaded, two-run single that tied the game. What was most impressive about that at-bat was he started 0-2 and worked the count full before hitting the single to right.
So far this month, Baez has slashed .305/.337/.598 and has a 131 wRC+ that ranks third on the team among batters with more than 80 plate appearances this month. He’s also been worth 0.8 WAR in August, which trails only Kris Bryant. The team’s offense as a whole has been stout this month and has carried a pitching staff that has been just okay.
The Cubs head east to Citizens Bank Park for the weekend, where the fightin’ Philadelphia Phillies await. Unsurprisingly, the Phillies are the worst team in the league and sit at the bottom of the NL East with a 46-80 record.
They have had something to be excited about, however, as their young outfield phenom Rhys (pronounced “Reese”) Hoskins has been on a tear since he got called up to the major league squad. In 15 games (64 plate appearances) he has a 1.161 OPS, 191 wRC+, and has been worth 0.9 WAR. He’s hit eight homers and driven in 19. If the Cubs want to hold the Phillies offense at bay, their pitching will have to contain this youngster.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, August 25 at 6:05 CT on WGN
- Saturday, August 26 at 6:05 on ABC-7
- Sunday, August 27 at 12:35 CT on CSN
What to Watch For
- Look for Javy Baez to continue to his great work at the dish. While he’s still not walking very frequently, he’s being more patient and more selective of balls he goes after. He still swings at the down-and-away slider, but seems to be getting better at avoiding pitches that are really far off the plate.
- Aaron Nola should provide the toughest challenge for the Cubs. He’s been the Phillies’ best pitcher by far on this year, so watch how the Cubs approach their plate appearances against him.
- Watch for the type of contact the Phillies get off of Kyle Hendricks. In his last start against the Blue Jays, Hendricks didn’t induce much soft contact, but was fortunate to limit their offense to three runs.