The Cubs finally get to face the worst team in baseball, they get to do it at home, and they get to employ their three best starting pitchers.
And, yet, the circumstances aren’t quite perfect, as the Cubs will have to face the Phillies’ best two starters, and, were this series next weekend, the Phillies would probably have sold off quite a bit by then. Not that I’m complaining. Just pointing it out.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs took two of three from the Braves out of the break, and then split in Cincinnati, which actually felt like a win. They hold a slender 0.5 game lead in the Wild Card race over the Giants.
At 34-63, the Phillies have the worst record in baseball by a wide margin – no other team’s win total even starts with a “3.” Naturally, though, they’ve won 5 of 6 coming out of the break against the Marlins and Rays. Does that mean they’re hot and the Cubs are facing them at the worst time? Does it mean that they’re due for plenty of losses? Trick question: it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a six-game stretch of baseball.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, July 24 at 3:05 CT on WGN-9.
- Saturday, July 25 at 3:05 CT on ABC-7.
- Sunday, July 26 at 1:20 CT on ABC-7.
Or you can watch on MLB.tv.
Expected Starters and Lineups
These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.
Starters: Jon Lester (3.37 ERA, 3.06 FIP; 3.74 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.52 ERA, 2.53 FIP; 4.75 K/BB), Jason Hammel (2.82 ERA, 3.06 FIP; 5.19 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, C (when he starts, which might not be until Sunday)
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Jorge Soler, RF
- Chris Coghlan, LF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Addison Russell, 2B
Starters: Jerome Williams (6.43 ERA, 5.48 FIP; 2.16 K/BB), Cole Hamels (3.91 ERA, 3.37 FIP; 3.35 K/BB), Aaron Nola (1.50 ERA, 3.73 FIP; 6.00 K/BB)
- Ben Revere, CF/LF
- Cesar Hernandez, 2B
- Maikel Franco, 3B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Domonic Brown/Jeff Francoeur, RF
- Cody Ashe, LF/Odubel Herrera, CF
- Freddy Galvis, SS
- Carlos Ruiz, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Dexter Fowler’s last seven games: .393/.514/.429.
Addison Russell’s last nine games: .320/.469/.360.
They’re getting on base. Now if Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant could break back out …
Hey, remember Jerome Williams? He pitched for the Cubs 9(!) years ago!
The Phillies’ other two starters in the series are Cole Hamels, so get ready for more rumor discussion, and top pitching prospect Aaron Nola. He’s the pitching equivalent of Kyle Schwarber from last year’s draft, having already reached the big leagues. And he’s good. Try not to let yourself get frustrated on Sunday.
It would be nice if Hamels was traded before tomorrow, eh? Not even necessarily to the Cubs – just, away.
Phillies younsger Maikel Franco can hit (.283/.340/.481), and he’s probably the only guy in the Phillies’ lineup that – on paper – makes you at all nervous right now. He’s been battling a sore elbow, but is expected to play against the Cubs.