The Phillies are back in action tonight in the first of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. The race for a playoff spot is on and this is absolutely a matchup that the Phils need to capitalize on. Forget everything we’ve seen over the past month, this comes down to Chicago having nothing to play for, and Philly having everything to lose.
The Cubs have a 67-86 record, but they’re still 6-4 in their last 10. It’s a stark contrast to the 3-7 record that Philadelphia has amassed in that same period. If there is ever a team that can play spoiler, Chicago ticks every box and the Phils need to come out hot in this series. They’ll be sending their ace to the mound in a bid to do so, but that’s only half the battle.
Phillies vs Cubs Pitching matchup
Zack Wheeler (11-7, 2.98) vs Marcus Stroman (4-7, 3.80)
Happy Wheelsday. Wheeler has been electric this season and will be hoping to take advantage of a Chicago unit that ranks 29th in the MLB in home runs, and is batting .240 on the season.
Across from him will be a pitcher who has had a bumpy few weeks. He allowed 7 hits against the Giants before rebounding to a 7-inning performance against the Rockies where he only allowed one run. The Phils have scored 19 runs in their last 3 games and will want to hit Stroman early and often to keep him from hitting his stride.
Stroman is also 1-5 at home this year, which is very interesting and something bettors should note.
The Phillies are favorites here and with good reason. Forget the numbers, the analytics, the pitching matchup. The team that should win this matchup is also the team that needs to win this matchup. Back the Phillies to come out with a sense of urgency and win this game convincingly.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu