The Cubs’ (19-24) challenging nine-game road trip went from bad to worse with a three-game sweep in Houston. Particularly painful was the Astros’ dramatic rally from a 6-1 deficit Wednesday, which featured a bullpen collapse. Chicago moves on from the World Series champions to three with the squad they beat in that series: the Phillies.
Philadelphia (20-23) has struggled early in 2023, sitting under the .500 mark through six weeks, largely because their pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.61 that ranks 23rd in all of baseball. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have not been nearly as good as they were last season and former Cub Craig Kimbrel has been so bad he lost the closer’s job to Jose Alvarado.
The Phillies’ offense has been much better, especially since the return of Bryce Harper from Tommy John surgery. The lineup has an OPS of .743, just outside the top 10 in the league, as Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto are both having very nice years. Surprisingly, they have not hit many home runs so far.
Despite their issues, this is a team that can easily get going and score in bunches. If the North Siders don’t step up their play, things could get ugly at Citizens Bank Park. The Cubs desperately need something to go right on this trip, and maybe Philadelphia will be where things turn around.
If that doesn’t happen, it may start getting pretty late pretty early for David Ross and company.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, May 19 at 6:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Saturday, May 20 at 3:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Sunday, May 21 at 12:35pm CT on Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Nico Hoerner is expected back from his hamstring injury on Friday, which should be a big boost to the lineup.
- Seiya Suzuki has hit four home runs in his last four games and is red hot.
- Old friend Kyle Schwarber is having the most Kyle Schwarber season possible with a .175 batting average and 10 homers.
- Steele had his first non-quality start of the year in Houston, so the Cubs could sure use a bounce-back effort in this series.