Series Preview: Cubs @ Phillies (8/25-8/27)

The Cubs just saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a late loss to the Cincinnati Reds Thursday. Despite that loss, Chicago has been playing very well of late especially on offense, averaging 7 runs a game over their last 13 games. This weekend features another matchup with a last-place team, the Philadelphia Phillies. It is also the so-called "Players Weekend" in Major League Baseball the next three days, in which players wear special jerseys with their nicknames on the back.

With a record of 46-80 the Phillies have the worst record in the league, or as Cubs fans a few years back would say, in good position to get the number one pick in the draft. The top power threat on the Phils is first baseman Tommy Joseph who has 19 home runs. Centerfielder Odubel Herrera, currently on the disabled list, is the top hitter on the team with a .287 batting average.

Of late, Philadelphia has really struggled winning only 4 of their last 15 games. Young Aaron Nola has been the Phillies best starter in 2017 with a 3.58 ERA in 21 starts. Citizens Bank Park is a very hitter-friendly stadium a la Great American Ball Park, so expect a lot of offense this series.


Friday: 6:05 pm CT on WGN/670AM

Saturday: 6:05 pm CT on ABC-7/670AM

Sunday: 12:35 pm CT on CSN-C/670AM



1. Ben Zobrist (2B)

2.Kyle Schwarber (LF)

3.Kris Bryant (3B)

4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)

5. Ian Happ (CF)

6. Alex Avila (C)

7. Jason Heyward (RF)

8. Javier Baez (SS)

9. Jose Quintana (P)

1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)

2. Freddy Galvis (SS)

3. Nick Williams (RF)

4. Rhys Hoskins (LF)

5. Tommy Joseph (1B)

6. Maikel Franco (3B)

7. Pedro Florimon (CF)

8. Jorge Alfaro (C)

9. Jerad Eickhoff (P)

Bullpen Usage



via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jerad Eickhoff: His fourseam fastball has slight armside run and has slightly below average velo. His curve has little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His slider has much less depth than expected, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His sinker has little sinking action compared to a true sinker. His change (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 16 of them in 2017) results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has an extreme amount of backspin.

Sean's Note: Eickhoff gives up over 60 percent line drives and fly balls, so he doesn't generate many ground balls. Left handed hitters do significantly better against him than right handers, so a lefty power hitter could have a good night against him.

Ben Lively: His fourseam fastball has essentially average velo. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers and results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth, has slight glove-side movement and has slightly below average velo. His slider results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 1 of them in 2017) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' cutters, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters, has surprisingly little cutting action, has good "rise" and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's Note: Lively has only made eight starts at the major league level. He is very much a pitch to contact guy, with only 21 strikeouts in 48.2 innings pitched. He is another pitcher with a low ground ball percentage despite throwing a sinker.

Aaron Nola: His curve has sweeping glove-side movement. His fourseam fastball has heavy sinking action, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slight armside run. His sinker results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has slight armside run and has some natural sinking action. His change dives down out of the zone, generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade.

Sean's Note: Some sources list Nola as the starter for Sunday's game, some have it as TBD. For now I'm going to go with Nola here, if someone else gets the start, I will put that pitchers scouting report in my Sunday game thread.

Final Thoughts

The Cubs get another bottom feeding opponent to try to take advantage of down the stretch. As has been stressed many times, these games still have to be played and baseball will happen. Still winning two of three feels like the minimum that has to happen in this series. Kyle Schwarber has favorable matchups the first two games with right handers who allow a lot of fly balls, this would be a good time for a War Bear power surge.





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  • fb_avatar

    The wife and I are in Philly for tonight and Sundays games. Hope your right about the offense, we would love to see it! Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    I'm going to Saturday's. I usually try to get to all three, but this year didn't work out...

  • You got cheesesteak grease running down your chin yet?

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    Sean, thanks as always for the pitch totals of the relievers. I wonder how many pitches are too many in a 2 or 3 day period. Would you say 30-40 pitches in 2 days are too many? I see that Koji and Justin did not pitch yesterday and had under 20 on Wed so I assume they could pitch today but don't know what their pitch limit is. Thanks.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It often depends on the pitcher. Someone like a Koji they tend to shy away from back-to-back days, possibly due to age. If a reliever gets to 25-30 pitches in a single relief outing the manager tends to stay away the next game. Anything over 40 pitches over two days makes a third day unlikely. So tonight I would say Pedro Strop would not be available but every one else should be good. Davis hasn't pitched since Sunday so I figure he will see work tonight no matter what.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Davis hasn't pitched since Sunday! Why not last night in the 8th?

  • In reply to willycat:

    Why didn't he pitch in the 8th ? I think J.M. got caught watching the game instead of managing the game!

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    It's a loss. You have to move on and let it go, though you should learn from mistakes.

    A little late with my predictions here, but I get the strong sense of a solo shot in the first, probably from Schwarber. :) Quintana continues to solidify his presence with 7 IP and another quality start. El Mago does El Mago things. Cubs win 7-3.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:


    I would have said this before the current score (1-6) but I just got home. I'm curious when you say "continue to solidify his presence". Q has had ONE really strong start. Sure his #'s have been okay but he certainly has not passed the smell test. He has been under duress in many innings in each start. I am already assuming he will not be starting in the playoffs unless the Cubs really need a #4 starter. I just hope the Cubs can find out what is wrong and this isn't what they're getting for the next few years because Sox fans are already laughing at the absolute steal they did on Theo.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I'm working late as well and haven't seen a single pitch, just following the Tweets. I see I blew it on the Quintana start, but that happens. I think the reactions to the beginning of his Cubs career are somewhat tainted and influenced by what we gave up. Especially on a prospect-driven site and readership like we have here at Cubs Den, I think that can unduly influence early opinions.

    The Cubs will win the NL Central in 2017 going away. Quintana will start several postseason games, probably slotted 2-3, and will help the Cubs win at least two more Championships during his years of cheap control.

    I do believe Eloy is the real deal. I saw through Soler from the day we signed him. I wish Eloy and Cease the best of luck, but make this deal at this point and addressing these specific needs every time.

    I do realize I haven't answered your "solidify" question. I'm out of the loop and going off memory, but I think he's been better than what you mention. He's had more than one good start. I do apprectiate the question and will answer more completely when time permits.

    This game ain't over (I think, I still haven't seen anything). We never quit!

    Go Cubs!

  • Maybe this is because I'm a chick, I always take note of how each guy wears his pants. KB has his up knee high today. I don't recall ever seeing him with short pants. Javy wears them long and short pretty evenly. Lester had his knee high when he made the game winning bunt against the Mariners. I'm going to make a chart someday to see if there's a correlation between pants height and play.

    Overall, I dig the uniforms. Love the color. I need the hat.

  • Must admit.......I do kinda like the Phanatic....

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    We get a Homer and we give a 2 run homer.......Looks like we are going to have to score a lot of runs today

  • Q might as well pitch the 8th. Lump him with the scrubs.

  • Why does quintana labor so much vs below average teams? Every freaking start it's the same thing.It burns my soul that the cubs gave up eloy jiminez for a #3-4 starter.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hear hear! I hated it the day it happened. It makes me physically sick now.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    You're not the only one.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    But least he is cost controlled. Sarcasm

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    In reply to bolla:

    Because he's a frickin bum. I told everyone that Quintana was nothing more than a 3-4th starter on a good staff. The Quintana for Jimenez and Cease trade is going to make the Brock for Broglio look like a good deal for the cubs.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Yea I was actually upset they day of the trade.I said the cubs got fleeced then tried to talk myself into thinking otherwise but I agree.

  • In every statistical offensive category the philadelphia phillies are at the bottom of the NL.Every single one.Jose quintana has given up 6 runs and is racking up another high pitch count before the 3rd inning vs yet another underwhelming offensive team.Unbelievable

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hey, at least we'll get to see our sterling bullpen. I'm curious to see how people put this loss on Madden.

  • Are there any Q apologists left?

  • When you can get Edwin Jackson's doppelgänger on a cheaper contract for one of the best, sure-fire stud prospects in the game, you gotta do it! Really hope we trade Bryant for one of the Reds starters in the offseason.

  • Can we change the back of "Q"'s jersery to "disappointment" or "overrated"? He definitely earned both nicknames in a Cubs uniform.

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    I just mention that the Quintana trade may rank right up there with the Brock Broglio trade. He has stuff similar to Lester but doesn't know when and to use it .

  • It's payback for the Sosa trade.

  • Lou Brock is very overrated. Not that great of a player.

    This is aimed more at the collective comment section than you specifically... but I, too, like to judge SP based off of 7 starts.

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    Well I don't agree that Lou Brock wasn't great but I think we can all agree he was sure a lot better than Ernie B was.

  • Absolutely. Terrible trade for the Cubs. But Lou Brock was a slightly above average hitter. Tons of stolen bases. In WAR, he ranks near guys like Miguel Tejada, Ryan Braun, Jimmy Rollins.
    Good player, not close to an all time great.

    Quintana has made 8 starts now, and has overall been just about the definition of an average MLB starting pitcher. Let's wait maybe another 40 starts or so before we start ranking it in the annals of Cubs embarrassments.

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    Q has been awful in most of his starts but in the last few years he has been very good. We still have a SSS. I think he very well feels the pressure of going from a last place team to the defending WS champions. He knows the prospects we traded. This year might be a disappointment but after the winter I truly believe he will once again be a top tier pitcher.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He's been bad all year

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Coming into tonight:
    League average ERA this year - 4.37.
    Quintana's ERA - 4.27

    It's okay to be frustrated. But just about nothing you've said in these comments has been true.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    League average isn't good. League average isn't worth our 10th best prospect let alone what we gave up. League average doesn't win in October. If league average is acceptable to you, cool. I'm disappointed that we gave up Jimenez for BOR starter who aspires to be MOR.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Not that it matters with how Jekyll/Hyde this offense has been this year.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I know it's not good. You specifically said he's been bad. Over and over. By definition, league average is not bad.

    You can gripe all you want about giving up a 20 year old for 3 years of a (up to this year) very good SP, during a window where the team is trying to win championships. Obviously i disagree with you there too.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Is that why we gave the farm up??? For him to be average? Then great deal.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Again, can we wait til he's thrown more than 8 starts?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I am assuming we acquired him to help this year. What we gave up it isn't too much to ask for an immediate impact.

  • Whenever the Cubs begin to lose, this comment section comes alive with doom and negativity. I am reminded of a phrase coined by Brett Taylor at Bleacher Nation a couple years ago: "Doom Boners".

    The baseball season is 162 games, people, and after that none of that matters. We are good, and I'm going to cheer us on all the way through another set of drunken snow angels and another Championship.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I genuflect before your heroic positivity in the face of relentless reality.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I take that as a compliment, I think? You are speaking in big words. :) Relax, folks, and look at the big picture.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    You and I represent opposite ends of the fan spectrum. I've heard people call you a fake fan or a troll, Stubbs, and I have defended you, stating that you are sincere in your depths of Cubs pessimism. I've heard of parties where you bring "the opposite". Maybe we should make a date to go to a "What is your level of Cubs optimism" party, and we could laugh at each other.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Look me up whenever you're in the greater Philadelphia area; I'll be your Yin.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I like to do somewhat goofy predictions before each game. I have not, and will not, predict that the Cubs will lose. I will be wrong about 40% of the time, and I'm cool with that.

  • The cubs have their chances to get back in it.It's whatever

  • In reply to bolla:


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