Phillies vs Cubs: All you need to know before this weekend’s series

Phillies Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner celebrates scoring a run off a double by Kyle Schwarber during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, April 7, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Let’s forget about California for a moment. The Phillies will have to travel to that haunted state just once more on June 18th to face the lowly Oakland A’s.

They are back home to face the Chicago Cubs, who are mired in a 5-game losing streak. Fitting, as the Phillies are coming home with a 4-game losing streak. Who will break their streak? Who will take the series? Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups.

Game 1: Ranger Suarez vs. Marcus Stroman

Ranger Suarez makes his home debut after a lackluster start in Colorado. He gave up 3 ER on 7 hits in 4 IP. Being as cavernous as Coors Field is, there’s no reason why Ranger Suarez can’t have a good start against the Cubbies.

Ranger allowed just 1 ER in 9 IP between Double-A and Triple-A during his rehab stint. Last season, Ranger had a 3.65 ERA in 155.1 IP. He showed ice in his veins during the playoffs, sporting a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 IP. He didn’t allow a run in 5.2 IP in the World Series.

He’ll face Marcus Stroman. The ace of the Cubs’ staff has thrown 50 IP in 2023 with a 3.24 ERA. In 2 starts against the Phillies last season, Stroman allowed just 2 ER in 13 IP. Stroman blew up in his last start against the Twins, allowing 6 ER in 2.2 IP. The Phillies will hope to see that Stroman as he had a 2.28 ERA on the season before that start.

Game 2: Aaron Nola vs. Jameson Taillon

Aaron Nola has been searching for himself all season. He hasn’t been terrible, but he hasn’t been Nola-esque. His velocity has been down for the majority of the season and he currently has a 4.53 ERA.

His last start in Colorado was as good as you’d hope for any starter at Coors Field. He went 7 IP and allowed 4 ER. While there were no unearned runs, the Phillies’ defense didn’t show up, committing 2 errors.

Aaron nola
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Speaking of struggles, Jameson Taillon has been roughed up in 2023. He has a 6.66 ERA. Since returning from the injured list, Taillon hasn’t reached the 5th inning and has allowed at least 3 runs in each of his 3 starts. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the 6th inning this season.

Game 3: ??? vs. Justin Steele

At the moment, the Phillies haven’t announced a starter for the series finale. Matt Strahm might sound like the obvious choice but he’s been switched to the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever. He could still appear in this game but not as a typical starter.

There’s some talk about adding Noah Skirrow to the roster to make a spot start. He’s in Triple-A and got hit hard during his last start allowing 5 ER. Besides that start, he hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in any appearance this season. He would have to be added to the 40-man and 26-man rosters.

Justin Steele has been one of the best pitchers for the Cubs in 2023. He enters this game leading the league in wins (for what that’s worth) with 6. He has a 2.44 ERA and a 1.030 WHIP. He had his worst start of the year last time out in Houston. He gave up 5 ER in 6 IP.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke