It’s usually not an enviable position to be seeking revenge against the worst team in baseball. But so it is for the Cubs, who were swept by these Phillies at home in late July.
The good news is that the sweep undoubtedly marked the low point of the Cubs’ summer. The other good news is that Cole Hamels is now a Ranger. The other other good news is that the Cubs will miss Aaron Nola in this series. The other other other good news is that the Phillies have traded off other pieces since these teams last met.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs were six outs away from a sweep in St. Louis and dreams of a shocking NL Central charge. But they dropped yesterday’s finale late. Still, the Cubs have won seven of their last ten.
At 54-85, the Phillies have the worst record in baseball. That was true when these teams played the first time, though, so stop counting those chickens. Yes, the Phillies are a very, very bad team – and they’re depleted, too – but baseball being baseball means that you can’t expect a four-game sweep here. Indeed, even if the Cubs played up to their win percentage and the Phillies played down to theirs, you’d expect the Cubs to have an even shot at winning three of four or just two of four.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Thursday, September 10 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
- Friday, September 11 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
- Saturday, September 12 at 6:05 CT on CSN.
- Sunday, September 13 at 12:35 CT on WGN-9.
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: Jake Arrieta (2.03 ERA, 2.46 FIP; 4.48 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (4.08 ERA, 3.51 FIP; 3.38 K/BB), Dan Haren (4.78 ERA, 5.43 FIP; 3.22 K/BB), Jason Hammel (3.59 ERA, 3.72 FIP; 4.28 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Chris Coghlan/Austin Jackson, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Javy Baez/Starlin Castro/Tommy La Stella, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
Starters: Adam Morgan (4.42 ERA, 5.33 FIP; 2.56 K/BB), Alec Asher (10.61 ERA, 5.82 FIP; 1.67 K/BB), Jerad Eickhoff (4.70 ERA, 4.23 FIP; 2.67 K/BB), Aaron Harang (5.02 ERA, 4.72 FIP; 2.09 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
Since he was moved into a utility role in early August, Starlin Castro is hitting .364/.373/.545 over 67 plate appearances. Small sample (and largely platoon protected) but there have been some obvious tweaks to his stance and swing.
Speaking of tweaks, Javier Baez is at .320/.370/.520 in his 27 big league plate appearances so far, but the strikeout rate is creeping up (22.2%). Visually, though, it still looks very good. He’ll have a bad at bat here and there (his first one against Carlos Martinez yesterday, for example, was ugly as he wasn’t picking up the pitches), but I’m still quite pleased.
Youngster Maikel Franco has been one of the Phillies’ best bats this year, but he’s been out since mid-August with a wrist injury, and won’t play this weekend.
Andres Blanco, 31, is having a magical year with the Phillies, hitting .308/.377/.529 over 85 games. Do you remember that he was a bench guy for the Cubs back in 2009?
Ryan Howard can still hit an occasional homer, but he’s hitless over the past week and is down to .228/.278/.432.
As I said above, you never want to assume anything, but the Cubs sure are going to face some attractive opposing starters in this one. I mean, in terms of their hit-ability. Like, for baseball I mean. Conducive to offense. Stop “phrasing” me!