Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (26-21) at Chicago Cubs (31-14)

In Series Previews by berselius4 Comments

The Cubs are back at Wrigley after a slump-y road trip, albeit one where they went 4-5. Putting up a .500ish record in a road series that included a trip to the west coast is not all bad. The Phightins have had almost as a surprising start as the Cubs. Maybe even more so, given the expectations going into the year. Much like the Cubs their record does not match their pythag, as they are seven games better than their third order W/L record of 19-27 and have a run differential of -31.

Team leaders



It's certainly not the offense that has propelled the Phillies to this unlikely record. They score 3.3 R/G, second only to the Braves for the fewest in all of baseball. Ryan Howard is going out with style, posting a .160/.226/.359 line and -0.9 fWAR. He'll get the $10m buyout on his way out the door and leave a legacy of being the platonic ideal of bad and unnecessary extensions that pay for past performance. At least he has a world series ring and an MVP trophy to console himself with. And that gigantic pile of extension money.

Pitching Matchups

K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP projected ERA listed for each starter.

Friday: Adam Morgan, LHP (5.26, 3.16, 5.61, 4.10, 5.65) vs Jon Lester, LHP (8.46, 2.44, 2.60, 3.49, 3.14), 1:20 PM CT

Scouting Morgan's stat line, I have no idea what his deal is. His strikeout rate is pathetically small, which points me toward a ground ball pitch to contact type, but his groundball rate through 20 MLB starts is 31%. He throws a fastball around 89-90 around half the time and throws sliders and a few changeups the rest of the time. This seems more like an old school Crafty Lefty situation. He got wrecked by the Reds two starts ago but has managed to hold his own in the other starts so far.

Saturday: Jerad Eickhoff, RHP (7.21, 1.84, 3.86, 3.85, 4.72) vs Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7.38, 2.33, 3.30, 2.92, 3.58), 1:20 PM CT

However his career turns out, Eickhoff has been a succes solely for making the majors while overcoming the burden of the ridiculous name his parents gave him. He was part of the haul for Cole Hamels at last year's deadline. He has been solid so far for the Phils, posting a walk rate that exceeds the already great expecations. Looking at his game logs tells a slightly different story though – he's given up at least three runs in almost all of his starts, and his overall rate stats are buoyed by shutting down the Padres and Braves, the two worst offenses in the league that he can face.

Sunday: Vince Velasquez, RHP (10.49, 2.92, 2.75, 3.28, 3.80) John Lackey, RHP (8.95, 1.91, 3.38, 3.15, 3.33), 1:20 PM CT

Velasquez has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Phillies picked him up in the Ken Giles deal with the Astros, and the struggling Astros have taken a lot of heat for VV's success since leaving the team. Giles's struggles haven't helped either. But this kind of reminds me of the Chris Archer deal, in that there was a lot of doubt if Velasquez would even be a starting pitcher. He's got a great fastball but a lot of meh secondary options, which sounds like good news for this Cubs lineup.

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