December 2, 2023

Redemption in Wrigleyville—Series Preview: Phillies at Cubs, June 27 – 29


Photo via the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter

Amid a late-season playoff push, the 2022 Phillies were swept out of Chicago last September. Now, the Phillies will look for redemption in Wrigleyville against the 37-39 Cubs.

Despite their seemingly poor record, the Cubs are just three games behind the first-place, 41-37 Milwaukee Brewers in a weak NL Central division. However, the Reds’ recent hot streak could result in Cincinnati quickly soaring to the top of the Central standings.

Last Time They Met

In mid-May, the Phillies won a three-game series against the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. The Cubs took the first game of the series with a commanding 10-1 victory, but the Phillies struck back in games two and three. Early home runs hit by Kyle Schwarber and Kody Clemens off Cubs’ Jameson Taillon powered the Phils to a victory in game two. In game three, a strong outing by Taijuan Walker and the Phillies’ bullpen made Bryson Stott’s two-run home run enough offense for a series-winning victory.

Since then, the Cubs have played nearly just as well as the surging Phillies—they have a 17-13 record since the end of the Phillies-Cubs series in May, and they have won eight of their last ten games.

Also note that the Cubs are also coming into the series with a day of rest, as they just finished the two-game London Series, which they split with the Cardinals.

Former Friends Thriving in the Windy City

True Phillies fans may remember former trade-deadline-acquisition Drew Smyly as well as former Phillies’ pitching prospect Mark Leiter, Jr. (I know, I really sparked your memory banks there!)

Well, in typical Phillies fashion, both are having excellent seasons for the Cubs.

Smyly, 34, started twelve games for the Phillies in 2019, posting a 4.45 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched. In 2023, though, Smyly has a 3.38 ERA over 15 starts with the Cubs. In his last start, he threw five shutout innings against the Pirates at PNC Park.

Smyly is scheduled to start game two of this three-game series. In 2022, Smyly allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings against the Phillies.

In two seasons with Philadelphia, Mark Leiter, Jr. had an ERA of 5.03 before his designation for assignment in August of 2018. He bounced between teams for a few years but has found a home in Chicago, boasting a 2.48 ERA in 32 appearances out of the bullpen for the 2023 Cubs. He has a WHIP of just 0.86 and has struck out 48 batters in 32.2 innings.

Standout Stats

In his career, Cubs’ shortstop Dansby Swanson is hitting just .105 against Phillies’ game-one starter Ranger Suarez.

Ian Happ and Trey Mancini are a combined 0-19 against Phillies’ game-two starter Aaron Nola.

Phillies’ utility player Josh Harrison has a career batting average of .423 against Cubs’ game-three starter Kyle Hendricks, including three home runs.

Phillies’ Brandon Marsh and Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki both have an average exit velocity of 92.5 MPH, which is tied for ninth-best in the National League; they both lead their respective teams in that category.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, June 27, at 8:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, June 28, at 8:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday, June 29, at 8:05pm ET on MLB Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 1-2, 3.50 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (RHP, 2-5, 6.71 ERA)

Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP, 6-5, 4.38 ERA) vs. Drew Smyly (LHP, 7-4, 3.38 ERA)

Game 3: Taijuan Walker (RHP, 8-3, 4.10 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (RHP, 3-2, 2.60 ERA)

By the Numbers

  • Run Differential
  • Phillies: -16
  • Cubs: 32
  • Runs Scored Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.38
  • Cubs: 4.63
  • Runs Allowed Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.58
  • Cubs: 4.21

Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.

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