wrigley outfieldWe’ll keep getting new ones as the season goes on (hopefully), but today’s game is pretty easily the most “please win this game” game of the year so far. Coming off of two losses at home, to the worst team in baseball, with the Cubs’ two best pitchers on the mound, today’s game feels critical. It probably feels more critical than it actually is – after all, the Cubs could lose today and then win 10 in a row, and today’s loss wouldn’t really feel that bad – but if you’ve been a part of the Cubs-related online conversation the last two days … you know what I’m talking about.

Jason Hammel gets his second start following his minor hamstring injury before the All-Star break. In his first, he was able to go just five innings, and his command wasn’t quite what it usually is. He admitted after the game that he was still feeling the effects of his hamstring issue (though it had migrated to his calf). In theory, this is a good lineup to face when you’re getting back on your feet, but they’ve scored 10 runs on the Cubs through two games – games started by Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, mind you.

On the bump for the Phillies is Aaron Nola, one of the best young pitchers in the game, who had a dominant big league debut last time out against the Rays. I doubt the Cubs will be no-hit again, but I also wonder if they’ll have some trouble early and/or will press.

Please don’t assume Kyle Schwarber is going to be a hero every time he starts. But he does start again in this one.

Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (36-63) at Chicago Cubs (51-45), 1:20 CT on ABC-7 (or your local affiliate), and MLB.tv.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Aaron Nola (1.50 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 2.73 xFIP; 6.00 K/BB)


Jason Hammel (2.82 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 3.22 xFIP; 5.19 K/BB)

Philadelphia Phillies Lineup

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B

2. Odubel Herrera, CF

3. Maikel Franco, 3B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Cody Ashe, LF

6. Freddy Galvis, SS

7. Domonic Brown, RF

8. Cameron Rupp, C

9. Aaron Nola, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Kyle Schwarber, C

3. Kris Bryant, 3B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Jorge Soler, RF

6. Chris Coghlan, LF

7. Starlin Castro, SS

8. Jason Hammel, P

9. Addison Russell, 2B

Keep Reading BN ...

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