The Cubs kicked off their 11-game road trip with a hard-fought win over the Atlanta Braves in a makeup game Thursday. The bullpen and an unlikely Tommy La Stella homer were the deciding factors in the victory. Chicago stays in the NL East for their next stop, three games in Philadelphia against the Phillies.
The Phillies have struggled the last few weeks as they battle for a division title, going 12-14 in August to fall three games back of the Braves. The pitching has faltered of late, even allowing 24 runs in a single game to the lowly Mets, but the starting rotation has a solid 3.82 ERA despite recent struggles.
The Phillies offense is feast or famine in 2018 and they bat a paltry .239 as a team. There is some thunder in the middle of the lineup, however, as Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Carlos Santana all have 20 or more homers.
With the risk of falling out of the playoff race, the Phillies are going to be going all-out to win these games. The Cubs again avoid their former ace Jake Arrieta, but they do get to see the Phillies’ best pitcher, Aaron Nola, who was moved up a day to face Chicago.
The Northsiders won two of three from the Phillies in early June at Wrigley and are playing the best they have all season long. Philadelphia is going to put up a big fight but if the Cubs keep playing like they have, they will be hard for anyone to beat.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, August 31 at 6:05 pm CT on MLB Network (out of market) and NBC Sports Chicago
- Saturday, September 1 at 6:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Sunday, September 2 at 12:35 pm CT on TBS and WGN
What to Watch For
- Ben Zobrist is hitting .417 the last seven games and .338 for August. Joe Maddon is starting to use him more down the stretch run.
- Jason Heyward injured his hamstring trying to catch Freddy Freeman’s triple on Thursday. His availability for this series is unclear.
- Kris Bryant is going to be in the lineup on Saturday. The Cubs held up very well without their big third baseman, but getting KB back is going to be a huge boost.
- Nola is having an unbelievable season for the Phillies and is among the National League Cy Young favorites.