The Philadelphia Phillies host the Chicago Cubs Tuesday in the first game of a three-game series. The Phillies come into this series with a record 60-58 while the Cubs are 64-54. Left-hander Jason Vargas (6-6) gets the start for the Phillies while left-hander Jose Quintana (10-7) gets the start for the Cubs. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Eastern at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Cubs break out of the pack in NL Central
The Chicago Cubs have broken out of the logjam at the top of the NL Central to take control of the division. They have won 7 of their last 10 games to build a 2 game lead over the Cardinals and a 2.5 game lead over the Brewers. They improved to 64-54 with a 6-3 win over the Reds on Sunday. Jon Lester gave up 3 runs in 5 innings while David Phelps got the win in relief. Kris Bryant had 2 hits including as home run and had 3 RBIs. Jason Heyward, Nick Castellanos and Ian Happ each had 2 hits. Happ added a home run and an RBI.
The Cubs offense has been solid. They average 5 runs per game, which is 11th in the league. As a team, they are batting .255, which is 11th in the league, and they have a slugging percentage of .453, which is 8th in the MLB, They are also 8th in home runs. Javy Baez has been the Cubs best hitter this year, batting .289 with 28 home runs and 80 RBIs. Kris Bryant is hitting .292 with 23 HRs and 58 RBIs while Anthony Rizzo is hitting .287 with 21 HRs and 73 RBIs.
The Cubs pitching has been excellent. They have a team ERA of 4.05, which is 5th in the league. They have a WHIP of 1.30, which is 10th in the MLB. Jose Quintana gets the start for the Cubs. The left-hander is 10-7 with a 4.23 ERA. Quintana won last time out, giving up 1 run in 7 innings.
Phillies need to finish strong
There were high hopes in Philadelphia for the Phillies in the offseason when they acquired prize free agent Bryce Harper, but so far, it’s been a disappointing season. They have lost 5 of their last 6 games to fall to 60-58, which puts them in fourth place in the NL East, 9 games behind the Braves. Also, they have fallen behind in the wildcard race. They are now 2 games behind in the race for the second wild card spot in the NL. They need to finish strong and it has to start by winning series’ against good teams. They had a disappointing series against the Giants, losing 3 out of 4 including a 9-6 loss on Sunday. Jake Arrieta gave up 5 runs in 3 innings while Jose Alvarez took the loss in relief. Cesar Hernandez had 3 hits and 2 RBIs, while JT Realmuto and Sean Kingery each had 2 hits.
The Phillies offense has failed to take off as expected. They rank 17th in the MLB with 4.7 runs per game. They are 24th in team batting average at .245 and 23rd in slugging percentage at .417. They are 22nd in home runs. Jean Segura leads the Phillies batting .281 with 11 HRs and 48 RBIs. Bryce Harper leads the team with 80 RBIs along with 22 home runs and a .250 batting average. Rhys Hoskins leads the Phillies with 24 HRs along with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs along with a .245 batting average.
The Phillies pitching is nothing spectacular. The Phillies have a team ERA of 4.64, which is 19th in baseball. They have a WHIP of 1.39, which is 20th. Jason Vargas, who was picked up from the Mets at the trade deadline, gets the start Tuesday. The left-hander is 6-6 with an ERA of 4.09. He lost his last start, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings.
- Phillies are 2-5 in their last 7 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Phillies are 2-6 in their last 8 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days.
- Phillies are 1-5 in their last 6 overall.
- Phillies are 1-5 in their last 6 games on grass.
- Cubs are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Cubs are 7-3 in their last 10 overall.
- Cubs are 7-3 in their last 10 games on grass.
- Cubs are 9-4 in their last 13 games following an off day.
- Cubs are 4-0 in Quintana’s last 4 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
- Cubs are 4-0 in Quintana’s last 4 starts when their opponent allows 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Cubs are 7-0 in Quintana’s last 7 starts.
- Cubs are 5-0 in Quintana’s last 5 starts when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous game.