The Cubs open their series in Philly with Rafael Ortega in center, Frank Schwindel at first, Ian Happ in left, and Willson Contreras behind the plate. Patrick Wisdom bats fifth at third, Alfonso Rivas is in right, David Bote is at second, and Sergio Alcántara is at short. Ortega and Wisdom had been powering the offense for a while, but both are in need of a big hit or three after falling off lately.
Adrian Sampson has put together two decent starts for the Cubs, the most recent of which came in their lone loss to the Reds last week. He could have gotten the win despite allowing two homers, especially since the solo shots accounted for all the runs he allowed, but it was not to be. Sampson is a strike-thrower who doesn’t miss many bats, so his mistakes can go a long way in the wrong direction.
On the mound for the Phillies is 33-year-old righty Kyle Gibson, a longtime Twin who was with the Rangers for a season and a half before being traded east at the deadline. He hasn’t been super effective since coming over to Philly, but he does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and in the yard. Of the 47 hits he’s allowed in as many innings, only three have cleared the fence.
You can probably guess that he’s a big sinkerballer, throwing it about 34% of the time to set up a slider, change, cutter, and four-seam that all see 13-15% usage. His curve makes up the remaining 9% and all of his pitches generate positive value, which is pretty rare for someone with so many different offerings. Though Gibson doesn’t come across as dominant in the least, he can frustrate opponents by working the fringes and getting swings at pitches they can’t square up.
Gametime is 6:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 14, 2021