The Cubs (35-57) are back after the All-Star break and a stretch of really bad baseball that saw them drop nine in a row before pulling out of their nosedive at the last moment. A win on Sunday snapped a streak that saw Chicago drop into a virtual tie with the Reds for last place in the NL Central. If that isn’t grim enough, this also might be the final week for Willson Contreras and Ian Happ on the Northside before possible trades at the deadline.
The second half begins with three games in Philadelphia starting on Friday. The Phillies (49-43) went 28-14 after a slow start to the 2022 season to move into a tie for the final Wild Card spot with the Cardinals at the break. Former Cub Kyle Schwarber is having a big power year with 29 home runs and a team-leading 58 RBI.
Bryce Harper was off to an excellent start to his season before a broken thumb on a hit-by-pitch knocked him out for two months. Rhys Hoskins is having an under-the-radar quality 2022 with 19 dingers and an OPS of .816.
Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler have been terrific starters on top of Philadelphia’s pitching rotation. After struggling early in the year, the bullpen has settled down and pitched well. One-time Brewers closer Corey Knebel has taken over the same role for the Phillies and has been mostly effective.
Cubs fans have to hope young players like Christopher Morel and Nico Hoerner keep playing well, particularly after the inevitable trades come. Ripping off a few wins probably won’t cushion the blow of the latter, but it couldn’t hurt.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, July 22 at 6:05pm CT on Apple TV+.
- Saturday, July 23 at 5:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network
- Sunday, July 24 at 11:05am CT on Peacock
What to Watch For
- Contreras has just one hit in his last 17 at-bats as he struggles following a hamstring issue.
- Two of the games in the series are exclusively on streaming services, with Apple TV+ on Friday and Peacock on Sunday.
- Steele has finished at least six innings two starts in a row.