The Cubs (37-39) split a pair of games in London against the Cardinals to complete a 4-1 road trip which saw them continue the recent momentum that has gotten them near the .500 mark. They now return home to Wrigley Field Tuesday for three with another team on a roll, the Phillies.
Philadelphia (40-37) has gone 15-5 in their last 20 games to get themselves back into the playoff race with a winning record. The Phillies’ calling card continues to be their offense, though they have a surprising lack of power outside of old friend Kyle Schwarber‘s 20 dingers. Another former Cub, Nick Castellanos, is having a huge season with a team-leading .859 OPS. Oh, and by the way, former MVP Bryce Harper is also lurking in the middle of the lineup.
The pitching in the City of Brotherly Love has been middling so far in 2023, but there certainly are pitchers with a track record of success on the staff. Taijuan Walker and Zack Wheeler are both showing recent improvement, helping to spur the turnaround. Closer Craig Kimbrel has recovered from a horrible start to the season and has been effective at the end of games over the past month.
A big problem for Philadelphia has been a very suspect defense, especially in the outfield. Schwarber and Castellanos have struggled mightily in the field and it has cost them several games this season. The Cubs were built around run prevention, but they had their own defensive issues in the final game in London on Sunday. They’ll need to play clean baseball in this series against a Phillies team that took two of three from them at Citizens Bank Park in May when both squads were slumping.
If the Cubs can keep their momentum going during this set of games at the Friendly Confines, they can really become a factor in the National League Central.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Tuesday, June 27 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Wednesday, June 28 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Thursday, June 29 at 7:05pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Seiya Suzuki went hitless in 10 at-bats in London and has been struggling for a while, posting a .484 OPS and a wRC+ of 34 in June.
- It will be interesting to see if manager David Ross gives Trey Mancini a start at first base against the lefty starter Suárez after his recent defensive woes.
- Ian Happ has been on base nine times the last four games and he has two home runs, a triple, and a pair of doubles.
- Hendricks has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.