Chicago Cubs versus Philadelphia Phillies (August 14)
The first place Cubs head to Philadelphia to face the struggling Phillies.
Cole Hamels is set to start for the Cubs, making his first appearance in Philadelphia as a visiting player.
Aaron Nola is scheduled to get the ball for the Phillies.
Offensively, the Cubs have the firepower via the long ball.
They have hit 186 home runs and average five runs per game.
Javier Baez leads the team with 28 home runs and 80 RBI, following by Kyle Schwarber’s 27 home runs.
Kris Bryan and Anthony Rizzo have passed the 20 home run mark, while Wilson Contreras is on the verge with 19 home runs.
The Phillies have largely underperformed at the plate. Bryce Harper leads the team with 80 RBI but his home run total is a relatively mediocre 22.
Rhys Hoskins has 24 home runs but hitting under .200 since the All-Star break.
JT Realmuto has chipped in 15 home runs and Cesar Hernandez leads the team with a .283 average.
The Phillies have hit 149 home runs and average 4.7 runs per game.
On the mound, Hamels has a modest 6-3 record but a solid 3.09 ERA.
He’s allowed only 10 home runs in 107 2/3 innings. Brandon Kintzler has been the most solid member of the bullpen, posting an ERA of 2.33 in 46 1/3 innings.
The back end of the bullpen has been shaky. Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop have a combined 17 saves with an ERA of 4.05 in 80 innings.
As a team the Cubs are allowing 4.4 runs per game.
Aaron Nola has been the best pitcher by far for the Phillies, posting a 10-3 mark with an ERA of 3.67.
He’s struck out 166 in 147 1/3 innings, but must be careful with the long ball, allowing 20 home runs.
The Phillies’ bullpen has been injury-struck and quite inconsistent at best. Closer Hector Neris has 20 saves and 3.51 ERA and Jose Alvarez has posted an ERA just above three.
Frequently used Juan Nicasio has allowed 25 runs in 42 2/3 innings for a lofty 5.27 ERA.
As a team, the Phillies have given up five runs per game.
This should be pitcher’s dual if Nola can keep the ball in the park.
The Phillies haven’t shown they can score consistently, so getting after Hamels, while possible, is not likely.
Until the Phillies prove they can compete with the big boys they have to be the underdog.
Look for a narrow victory by the Cubs in a 4-3 game.