June 7, 2023

In Need of Some Home Cookin’ — Phillies-Cubs Series Preview


Rick Schultz/Getty Images

The Phillies are back at CBP this weekend to face the Chicago Cubs as part of an important six-game homestand. After getting swept in San Francisco this week, the Phils have now lost four straight and sit at 20-23 on the season.

Tonight, they will look to snap not only their four-game losing skid, but also a six-game losing skid against the Cubbies.

The Cubs, who sit at 19-24 and are mired in a 5 game losing streak themselves, added some talent in free agency this offseason by acquiring Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, and Jameson Taillon, all of which the Phillies should see this weekend.

So, how do they break through and pick up a series victory over the Northsiders this weekend? Let’s take a look:

Hitting With RISP

You knew this was coming. The Phillies are 2 for their last 40 with runners in scoring position, but you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.

This weekend, the Phillies will need to take advantage of opportunities with RISP. 2 for 40 is not going to get it done, especially against the pitchers they will face.

Tonight, they take on Marcus Stroman, who is 5-4 with a 2.34 ERA in his career vs. Philadelphia. Tomorrow, Jameson Taillon, who currently sports a 6.66 ERA, toes the rubber. While it has not been a smooth start to his Cubs career for Taillon, he is still coming off a season with the Yankees where he went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA, so he could still be a tough customer. On Sunday, The Phils will face Justin Steele, who is an early season favorite for the NL Cy Young Award with a 6-1 record and a 2.44 ERA.

The Phillies will need to figure it out with RISP this series if they want to be successful. On the season, they currently have a .232 team average with RISP, 22 points below league average. Meanwhile, they are top five in the league in many other offensive categories, which gives me hope that all of this will eventually even out over 162.

However, this needs to change quickly, as the Phils currently sit in 4th place in the NL East, 7 games behind the Braves for 1st.

Pitching With RISP

We all know about the team’s struggles hitting with runners in scoring position, however, perhaps more concerning, is their pitching numbers.

With runners in scoring position, opposing teams are hitting .294 against Phillies pitchers, which is the third worst average given up with RISP in the MLB, and worst in the NL.

It’s simple, when you don’t score runs with RISP and don’t get outs with RISP, you’re not going to win many games.

The Cubs come into this series hitting .267 with RISP, which is good for tenth in MLB and fourth in the NL. Phillies pitchers will need to turn it around this series because you cannot have what happened in San Francisco, where Giants hitters went 12 for 30 (.400) with RISP, happen again.

Game Times and Broadcasts

Friday, May 19, at 7:05p ET on NBCSP, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680

Saturday, May 20, at 4:05p ET on NBCSP, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680

Sunday, May 21, at 1:35p ET on NBCSP, MLBN, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (RHP, 2-4, 3.24 ERA)

Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP, 3-3, 4.53 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (RHP, 0-2, 6.66 ERA)

Game 3: TBD vs. Justin Steele (LHP, 6-1, 2.44 ERA)

The Numbers

Run Differential:

Phillies: -29

Cubs: +22

Runs Scored Per Game:

Phillies: 183

Cubs: 206

Runs Allowed Per Game:

Phillies: 212

Cubs: 184

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