Major League Baseball action on Thursday evening and the National League Central will square off with the National League East as the Chicago Cubs invade Citizens Bank Stadium in Philadelphia, PA to rumble with the Philadelphia Phillies. This is game three of a three-game series.
Pitching Matchup: The Cubs will be sending out Yu Darvish (4-6, 4.43 ERA) and the Phillies will counter with Drew Smyly (2-6, 6.96 ERA).
The Cubs’ Road Woes Continue
The Chicago Cubs are tied with the St Louis Cardinals atop the National League Central, but just think about where they would be if they could win away from home. The Cubs have been a strong home team as they have gone 41-19 at Wrigley so far this year, compared to now being 23-37 on the road after losing to the Phillies in game two of this series. Their road record is 2nd worst in the National League and Chicago would be running away with the NL Central if their road record was a bit more respectable. The Cubs still have three on the road against Pittsburgh after this one, but then they come home for three against the Giants and three against the Nationals.
Cole Hamels spent the first 9.5 years of his career here in Philadelphia and on Wednesday night he made his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park since departing in 2015. I am here to tell you that his return was a horrible one. Hamels had a 3.26 ERA in 143 career starts at the Bank, but on Wednesday he allowed eight ERs on nine hits and two walks in 2.0 innings to fall to 6-4 with a 3.69 ERA on the year. Hamels may never want to come back after that performance. The Cubs scored their lone run on Kris Bryant’s 24th homer of the year. Chicago enters this game at 9th in the league in run differential at +65.
Final: Phillies 11, Cubs 1. pic.twitter.com/XCTFmBscu8
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 15, 2019
Getting the nod for the Cubs will be Yu Darvish and he has gone 4-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 24 starts on the year, including 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in his last three starts and 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 starts on the road. Righties are hitting .180 off of Darvish this year, while lefties are hitting .251 off of him. In his career, he has gone 27-25 with a 3.36 ERA in 79 starts on the road and 11-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts during the month of August. Darvish has gone 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies, including 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in one start here at the Bank.
The Cubs have been a decent offensive team so far as they come in ranked 13th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.95 rpg, while also ranking 14th in hitting at .254 and 10th in homers with 185. On the mound, they have been solid as they come in ranked 7th in the league in ERA at 4.10, while also ranking 11th in WHIP at 1.30 and 16th in K’s with 1046. The bullpen ranks 7th in the league with a 4.04 ERA.
The Phillies Found Some Offense
The Philadelphia Phillies made a desperate move a couple of days ago when they fired hitting coach John Mallee and brought in Chalie Manuel to take his place. Manuel was their coach from 2015 till the middle of the 2013 season and he took them to two World Series while winning one in 2008. In his first game on Wednesday night, the Phillies went out and put up 11 runs in the 11-1 win. It will be interesting to see if the Phillies can keep that up as the rest of the season goes on. The Phillies had some strong offensive teams in his tenure with the team and they are hoping for the same this time around. Philly has been struggling overall and while they are nine games out of first in the National League East, they are just two games out of the 2nd wildcard slot. This is a huge game for the Phils as they should have a rather easy time coming up with the Padres at home for three games. The Phils then have two against the Red Sox one the road, before three at Miami and three at home against the Pirates. This is a great chance for the Phillies to take back one of the wildcard slots that they held for much of the year.
Bryce Harper has not been the player that the Phils were hoping for when they signed him to the huge contract, but he had a big game on Wednesday night. Harper had three hits, including two homers, while driving in three runs. He has now gone deep 24 times this year. JT Realmuto as had a solid game with a grand slam as part of a six-run 3rd inning for the Phillies. He now has 17 dingers on the year. The beneficiary of all the offense was Aaron Nola, who allowed just one ER on three hits and walk while striking out seven in 7.0 innings of work. he is now 11-3 with a 3.56 ERA on the year. The Phillies are 36-26 here at home for the year and they are tied with the Brewers for 17th in the league in run differential at -21.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 15, 2019
The Phillies will trot out Drew Smyly and he has gone 2-6 with a 6.96 ERA in 17 games (13 starts on the year, including 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts as a member of the Phillies and 1-4 with a 7.40 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in his home games overall. Righties are hitting.265 off of Smyly this year, while lefties are hitting .323 off of him so far. In his career, he has gone 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts here at Citizens Bank Park and 8-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 31 games 17 starts during the month of August. Smyly has never faced the Cubs.
The Phillies have been a below-average offensive team so far as they come in ranked 17th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.77 rpg, while also ranking 22nd in hitting at .246 and 23rd in homers with 153. On the mound, they have been below average as they come in ranked 18th in the league in ERA at 4.60, while also ranking 20th in WHIP at 1.38 and 21st in Ks with 1023. The pen for the Phils ranks 20th in the league with a 4.73 ERA.
- 4-11 in their last 15 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- 1-6 in their last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter
- 23-6 in their last 29 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- 11-4 in their last 14 vs. the National League Central