Cubs @ Phillies Series Preview: (8/13-8/15)


The Cubs were able to split four games with a Reds team that has been a massive thorn in their side. The heroics of Kris Bryant on Sunday turned another disappointing series into a much more palatable break even set.

Now Chicago heads east for three games against the underachieving Phillies. Philadelphia was very active before the 2019 season in trades and free agency. The additions, including superstar Bryce Harper, have done very little to help leading to just a 60-58 record.

While the offense is not clicking on all cylinders the pitching staff has really dragged the Phighting Phils down. Especially the bullpen that sports an ugly 4.76 ERA. That said, this team still has the ability to win some games. That is particularly true if the bats can get hot.

If the Cubs can even go .500 on this trip it will be huge for their playoff chances. The split in Cincinnati is a very good start, but not if they can't make some progress in Pennsylvania. Let's see if they can make it happen.


Tuesday: 6:05 PM CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Wednesday: 6:05 PM CT on ESPN/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Thursday: 6:05 PM CT on MLB Network/WGN/670AM



1. Jason Heyward (L) RF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Javier Baez (R) SS
7. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
8. Ian Happ (S) 2B
9. Jose Quintana (R) P


1. Bryce Harper (L) RF
2. Rhys Hoskins (R) 1B
3. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
4. Jean Segura (R) SS
5. Scott Kingery (R) 3B
6. Corey Dickerson (L) LF
7. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
8. Roman Quinn (S) CF
9. Jason Vargas (L) P

Bullpen Usage



Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jason Vargas: Jason Vargas has thrown 24,759 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Change using a Circle Change grip (79mph), Fourseam Fastball (85mph) and Sinker using a Two-seam Fastball grip (85mph), also mixing in a Curve using a Knuckle Curve grip (71mph).

His change has below average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has slight armside fade. His fourseam fastball comes in below hitting speed. His sinker is so slow that it is substantially gravitational and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His curve comes in below hitting speed and has sweeping glove-side movement.

Sean's Note: The veteran Vargas got moved to Philly after valiantly defending the Mets manager from a random beat writer. On the field, the lefty has had a decent year with a 4.09 ERA. He doesn't strike out a ton of hitters, just 19.5% and has a very low batting average on balls in play .251. Those numbers indicate regression may be near.

Aaron Nola: Aaron Nola has thrown 11,316 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2015 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Curve (79mph) and Fourseam Fastball (93mph), also mixing in a Change (86mph) and Sinker (93mph).

His curve has sweeping glove-side movement and has a sharp downward bite. His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His change results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, is slightly firmer than usual, has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. His sinker has slight armside run and has some natural sinking action.

Sean's Note: Nola is the ace of the staff for Philadelphia with a 3.67 ERA and a 10-3 record. He still strikes out plenty of hitters (26.5%), although his walk rate ticked up to 9.4% after being 7% last season. Like all pitchers in 2019 his homer rate has spiked with 20 in just 147.1 innings, he allowed only 17 in 212.2 innings last year. The Cubs scored three runs on him in 5.1 innings in May.

Drew Smyly: Drew Smyly has thrown 11,179 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2012 and 2019, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (91mph) and Curve (77mph), also mixing in a Cutter (87mph) and Change (83mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (92mph).

His fourseam fastball has much less armside movement than typical, has essentially average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has some added backspin. His curve has primarily 12-6 movement, has little depth and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves. His cutter has good "rise". His change has surprising cut action, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and has a lot of backspin. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has surprisingly little armside run, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's Note: Smyly was on the Cubs roster last year while recovering from elbow surgery. He never pitched for Chicago before starting the 2019 season with Texas. They released him after a poor first half and Philly grabbed him in July. It hasn't gotten better in the National League, he has a 6.96 ERA and is walking over 12% of hitters. The biggest problem is the home run, 23 bombs in just 75.1 innings pitched. Basically he surrenders nearly three jacks per nine innings.

Filed under: Series Preview

Tags: Kris Bryant


Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    Another important game for our Cubs. One reason we were able to split the series in Cincy was because we won the first game. To win tonight will give us more momentum and put more pressure on StL and Milwaukee.
    I’m glad that Joe is going with the hot bat and has Happ in there again. If he can keep hitting he really lengthens the lineup.
    Our bullpen is also in good shape—I would think that only Wick (I’m thinking we struck gold there) and Mills are unavailable tonight.
    If Q can hold them to 2 or under we will win.
    Now let’s score some runs!

  • fb_avatar

    According to Arizona Phil Kimbrel threw today and felt fine, possibly being activated this weekend. Also, Zo is going to Iowa this Thursday.

  • BRYZZO both have good numbers at Citizens . Hopefully they continue for the series.

  • In reply to stix:

    Rizzo's numbers against Vargas are not good though. .091 BA in 11 AB.

  • In reply to TC154:

    SSS , guess Rizzo will need to tell himself that his 22-49 recent streak vs the Phils overcomes his Vargas stats,since Vargas stats were when he wasn’t pitching for the Phils.:):):)

  • I'm kind of surprised Rizzo is in there tonight, he's been miserable against Vargas with a .091 BA. In fact the Cubs, surprisingly, have not had a lot of success against Vargas the last few years. On the other hand only Rizzo and Castellanos have any significant AB against him (11 and 22 respectively) On the other side Corey Dickerson and Cesar Hernandez, have hit Quintana hard. None of the other matchups have large enough sample sizes to make any sort of determination. This isn't a must win but would sure set the tone nicely. Go Cubs!

  • I think I saw that Ryan was activated today & Maples sent down. Just FYI.

  • Wow, what a day.

    Go Cubs!

  • Thought Mallee was highly regarded?

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    So was Chili.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    ‘See CJ imploded for SD again too :(

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    What happened?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    CE Jr.....bad outing....4 ER....couple wild pitches.....was brutal.....gave up runs both times out now for SD...

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Shoot, I liked him; he may bounce back next year (as long as it's not against us), and prayerfully the guy we got for him pans out............

  • It's early, but not too early for Javy time!

    I was hoping for a HR, but really, what is more exciting Javy time? A HR or an unintentional BB?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And a SB. I think Javy's heel is finally feeling better, and he is feeling the weight of the road woes on the team. He is going to start doing some carrying, because he can.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    This is a reply to BP’s reply to BP. I think you’re right. Javy has not been Javy on the bases and he can ignite the team by doing that.

  • Man, how can we not hit this guy?

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Probably similar question the opposition asks about Hendricks. He throws too soft?

  • Javy Time! No, but...

    javy time.

    I'll take it, for now.

  • Good slide at home!

  • fb_avatar

    Through 4 Brailyn Marquez has 3SO and no ER.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He is worth watching.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm surprised Brailyn isn't in the top 100 MLB prospects as well as Brennen Davis. Terrible approach at the plate for Albert Almora. Whatever happened to trying to advance runners.

  • Happ swinging it pretty well lately. I wish joe would have batted him anywhere but eighth. Seems a waste to bat him in front of q.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Had a runner on in front of him in the 5th and struck out. Didn’t do much in his chance.

  • In reply to stix:

    You really don’t have to pitch to the guy when the pitcher is behind him.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Probably right but he doesn’t have to swing at bad pitches either.

  • In reply to stix:

    True, that’s why i would like to see him get a little protection now that he’s swinging well and hopefully gaining confidence.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    That comes with the territory. I pulled my hair out for two years about Javy hitting 8th. The worst spot for a free-swinger, when the pitcher will just throw you junk. You have to hit your way out of that spot. Javy did. Happ will.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    To amend, Happ isn't a free-swinger. But he needs to hit his way out of the 8-hole. He will.

    How about Q? He may be making early dinner reservations.

  • Nicky 2bags.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Should we be changing him to Nicky 4bags?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That pitch was basically the same speed as what Farmer was throwing in Cincinnati............

  • fb_avatar

    Nicky 2.5 Bags so far. Now Rizzo has to start coming through—and he doesn’t. We need to go ahead this inning, if we don’t it’s a win for Philly.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I get the frustration in the moment, and I'm guilty myself. But I never call it a game until the 27th out.

    #12 for Quintana!


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I didn’t explain myself. By “win” I meant a psychological one. A HR and then a double and then zip, zero, null. I’d feel good if I was a Philly player and didn’t give up another run that inning, especially with the batters coming up.

  • Almora with a sub .500 OPS with runners on and RISP. Gross. Maybe he can bunt his way on.

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    I love Almora, and the only time he should be batting is in batting practice. He is a defensive replacement for the rest of this season. If you've followed the Cubs, which we all have, we play the marathon game through 2/3 of the season, and then tighten up. It's about time to tighten up.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Maybe, someday, Albert will wake up !

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Almora has definitely been lacking at the plate this year among others but where would the Cubs be without Nicky 2Bags?

  • Q done could have had the lead if Happ could catch a little league pop up.

  • Another ho-hum quality start for Q. Seems like almost every game is a quality start.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I get your point with the ho-hum quality start, but this was no ho-hum quality start. This was pretty special.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree. I was being sarcastic. Sometimes it does not come off in posts. Q's first inning he was wild. Then, he settled down. 1ER 14K's in six innings on a warm humid night. Think they will want to try and extend him in the off season.

  • Re Q: Pitch count too high to let him make a run at the record, unfortunately.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    What record is that?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:


  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    I could be wrong, but I think that was a new career-high for Quintana. And nobody's catching Kid K.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That’s the best part about making a run at something, even if you fall short.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    KidK only had 12 k’s after 6. Q was ahead of his pace.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I believe Clemens, Wood and Johnson also had 20K games. If you meant nobody is passing him I'm with you there.

  • Awesome outing for Q! Happer gave them the 1st run and Realmuto hit a pretty good pitch out.

  • 14 Ks through 6 innings.... this time it's the Cubs pitcher! Cubs have 1 K. I'm stunned

  • Q twirls another gem.

  • Agghhh.

  • fb_avatar

    Realmuto’s killed us this year.

  • Let's get some runs!

    I'll change it up a bit.

    Before this game is over, it's Rizzo time!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    But Rizzo watches two strikes down the pipe before he starts swinging at junk. Go figure ?

  • Its time to send A.A.Jr. to triple A to straighten out his approach at the plate !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    5 hits total this game for the Cubs so far and Almora has 1 of them & Nicky 2Bags has 2 of them and you just pick Almora to straighten out his approach at the plate? LOL

  • 5 hits doesn’t work very well. Also LHSP and road games aren’t very good for the cubs either this year.

  • Oh nuts.

  • fb_avatar

    Well, in AAA Alzolay pitched 4 innings and had 7 SO with 1 ER. Marquez gave up no runs and Patterson didn’t give up a run either. Something good is happening tonight.

  • C'mon! Time for the depth to step up.

  • I''ll take it (because I didn't feel it).


  • What happened to Rizzo, he’s not doing anything? I know he is a streaky hitter but this has been too long of a slump.

  • J-Hey?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well that sucked.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Not a leadoff hitter.

  • fb_avatar

    That did suck, but I’m buying Q dinner tonight. That was a great performance.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Send me the bill.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I’ll buy you dinner too. You contribute so much here you deserve it.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That was very thoughtful. I don't know that I deserve it, but thank you, Jonathan.

    In all seriousness, I do try. I like to have fun, but I try to contribute quality content as well. I appreciate the feedback from the community here. We feed off each other. We feed off each other, see what I did there?

    Go Cubs!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I did see what you did. I like to have fun here especially sometimes with word play (as you just did) but also I learn so much from so many responders here. You are always a good read and your broad knowledge amazes me at times. I also appreciate that you’re a. If Dylan fan as I am. So keep up the great work here—we need to keep Cubs Den as informative and respectful as it has been. Thank you.

Leave a comment