Cubs @ Phillies: Series Preview – June 6-8, 2016; TV Times, Pitching Matchups

The Cubs are only one game shy of 40 wins, standing at 39-16, which is five wins better than the next closest team, San Francisco. And at 16 loses, they still haven’t reached their loss total of 19 during spring training. Just a useless factoid but an interesting note and a little reminder at how utterly meaningless final scores really are in spring training.

The boys packed up yesterday for their funky jumpsuit road trip – my unofficial name – and start things off today in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The last time these teams met, just a little over a week ago, the Cubs swept the Phillies (28-29), who, entering that series, were five games over .500. Just a reminder kids, stay away from those outlets and bad things happen to teams that mess with the Cubs.

And, strangely, the pitching match-ups in this series are identical to the series last week. That’s a rarity you won’t see often. In addition, each one of the three Cubs’ pitchers have seen their ERA improve and each have two more wins. Conversely, each of the Phillies’ pitchers ERA is worse and each have two more losses, except Vince Velasquez with only one more loss.

Game times and broadcast info

  • Monday, June 6 at 6:05 PM CDT on CSN, ESPN2 (out-of-market only)
  • Tuesday, June 7 at 6:05 PM CDT on WGN
  • Wednesday, June 8 at 12:05 PM CDT on CSN, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L K/BB
5/27 Jon Lester 32 L 2.29 6-3 4.06
Adam Morgan 26 L 7.07 1-4 2.40
5/28 Kyle Hendricks 26 R 2.84 4-4 3.92
Jerad Eickhoff 25 R 3.93 2-8 4.15
5/29 John Lackey 37 R 2.88 6-2 4.00
Vince Velasquez 23 R 3.76 5-2 3.32

What to watch for

  • These two teams are heading in opposite directions. Over the last ten games, the Cubs are 8-2 while the Phillies are 2-8. On paper, the Cubs should walk right over these guys. As long as the Cubs can score some runs, which lately has been either really easy or really hard, they should at least win 2-of-3 in this series.
  • Over his last seven games, Anthony Rizzo has really been hitting the ball well and is slashing .389/.522/.833 along with two home runs. The Cubs have a lot of trouble scoring when Rizzo isn’t getting involved offensively, so it’s great to see him hitting well again.
  • In contrast, Ben Zobrist has cooled down considerably over his last six games and is slashing .063/.318/.063 – quite a departure from his league leading May performance. We’ll look for him to get back on track in this series.
  • The Cubs, as a team, have produced only 24 runs over their last seven games, which equals the Phillies run production over the same time frame and ranks 23rd in the majors. The Cubs slash line during that period is .196/.288/.349. Obviously, at this point in the season and with the best record in baseball, it’s hard to be concerned about this lack of production. It becomes concerning though when you think back to what happened to the Cubs in the NLCS. This team gets stymied offensively at times and that’s easy to overcome in the regular season, but can become an issue in the playoffs. There’s still a long way to go this year, so hopefully the Cubs can get things to a point where the dry stretches are just small blips and not such big drop offs.
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