citizen's bank parkThe Cubs better win this one if they want to take the series from the Phillies.

Because, you see, a team has to win at least two out of the three games in a series in order to win that series, and each of these two teams has won one game in this series, and this joke has run its course.

Vincent Velasquez was one of the hot stories in the early going this season, but he hasn’t gone more than five innings in a start since early May, and has been knocked around his last three starts (including by these Cubs two starts ago). The young righty still has great stuff and the potential to dominate, but hopefully the Cubs can work him patiently like they did last time.

At the other end of the spectrum, John Lackey has been absolutely brilliant in his last several starts, including his previous outing against these Phillies. Just keep doing that.

Albert Almora makes his starting debut with the Cubs today, playing left field. He should be plenty comfortable out there, even if it’s not his natural center field. Dexter Fowler is not Almora with the glove, but he’s actually been very good in center this year. Couple that with the desire not to disrupt the natural flow that Fowler and Jason Heyward are developing, I have no issue with Almora being the one playing “out of position.” That’s going to be a heck of a defensive outfield right there.



Game Info

Philadelphia Phillies (29-30) at Chicago Cubs (40-17), 12:05 CT on CSN, MLBN, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives here. The Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: John Lackey (R): 2.88 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 3.45 xFIP; 4.00 K/BB

versus

Phillies: Vincent Velasquez (R): 3.67 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 3.70 xFIP; 3.32 K/BB



Philadelphia Phillies Lineup:

1. Odubel Herrera, CF

2. Cesar Hernandez, 2B

3. Freddy Galvis, SS

4. Maikel Franco, 3B

5. Ryan Howard, 1B

6. Cameron Rupp, C

7. Cody Asche, LF

8. Tyler Goeddel, RF

9. Vincent Velasquez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Jason Heyward, RF

3. Kris Bryant, 3B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Ben Zobrist, 2B

6. Albert Almora, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Javy Baez, SS

9. John Lackey, P


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