Series Recap: Phillies Grab 2 Wins in Chicago

Phillies Alec Bohm
Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm runs the bases to score on a single from Whit Merrifield during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

The Phillies hit the road for a six-game series after their recent homestand. Three games in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field would be the first stop for the top team in Major League Baseball.

Fresh off a split with the Miami Marlins, the Phillies were looking to get back to their winning ways. They would take on a Cubs team that has struggled mightily this season under the guidance of new manager Craig Counsell.

Sending some of their best arms to get a series win, the Phillies managed to win the first two ballgames, before dropping game three.

Phillies Mercado
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Michael Mercado follows through during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday, July 2, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Game 1

Rookie Michael Mercado would get the ball in his first career start on Tuesday night. It is a tremendous location to have your first career start. This would be Michael’s second appearance in the big leagues after making a relief appearance in Detroit just a few games prior.

Trea Turner wanted to help get the young arm some run support and fill in the void that Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber have left. Turner would carry the Phils’ lineup in this game. Hitting two homeruns to go along with a three-hit night, Trea drove in 4 of the team’s 6 runs against the Cubs.

Hitting one ball to the street, Turner’s offensive gave Mercado a comfortable lead throughout his five innings of work. The rookie’s line for the evening was 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 4 K. He would earn the victory as the Phillies held on to win the ballgame 6-4.

Game 2

Zack Wheeler took the bump Wednesday evening as the Phillies were looking for another series win. Wheeler, the NL Cy Young favorite, would be a much different challenge than rookie Michael Mercado.

Wheeler looked good yet again, tossing six innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs, and struck out seven hitters. Despite being one of the best pitchers in the National League, the Phillies went into Wheeler’s start with just a 9-8 record in his starts.

He did not factor in the decision, as Matt Strahm would allow the Cubs to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th inning. Strahm has been great for most of the season but seemingly has started to show he is human over his last few outings.

In the top of the 8th inning, however, the Phillies would fight right back. Alec Bohm would drive his 11th home run into the grandstands, making it a 5-3 ballgame. Jose Alvarado would earn his 13th save of the season and the Phillies would win yet another series.

Phillies Alvarado
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Rafael Marchán, left, and pitcher José Alvarado celebrate their 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs in a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

Game 3

The Fourth of July was full of fireworks at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, they were on the receiving end of the fireworks show as they lost Game 3, 10-2.

Cristopher Sanchez took the mound for the first time since his complete game shutout against the Miami Marlins. Baseball can humble you very quickly and Sanchez would quickly learn to realize this. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cristopher allowed 5 earned runs to the Cubs. A three-run homerun by Ian Happ would be the bulk of the damage but the Chicago hitters were timing Sanchez up well.

After escaping the jam, the Cubs would again start to hit the young left-hander the following inning. Cristopher would be relieved by Seranthony Dominguez halfway through the frame. A few more runs would score and they would be charged to the Phillies’ start. For the afternoon, Sanchez went 4 IP, allowing 7 H, 7 ER, walking 3, and striking out 3.

Ian Happ would hit a second three-run homerun in back-to-back innings, putting the Cubs ahead for good. Happ, a potential trade target for the Phillies, put on quite the showcase for himself in this game.

The Phillies would not score after Nick Castellanos’ solo home run in the fourth inning and dropped the finale to the Cubs 10-2.

Upcoming for the Phillies

Up next, the Phillies head to Atlanta to face their division rivals. The Braves are currently in second place in the NL East and trail the Phillies by 9 games.

Without Ronald Acuna Jr and Spencer Strider, the Braves have still put together a strong season. They will enter the series with a 47-38 record and could use a strong series to get back in the race.

At the very worst, if the Phillies were to be swept by Atlanta, their division lead would fall to 6 games. This is a credit to the incredible first half of the season. If the Braves take two of three, they could only gain one game on the Phillies.

If the Phillies sweep, their lead would improve to 12 games. If they just win the series outright, they would improve their lead to 10 games in the National League East.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)