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)
via Baseball Press.
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.
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.