Emotions ran high for the Cubs (65-79) when Kris Bryant returned to Wrigley Field this past weekend. Tears were shed and games were dropped as the mighty Giants swept Chicago in the three-game set. Now the Cubs head out on the road for a series in Philadelphia as the season winds slowly to a close.
The Phillies (72-71) are still alive in both the NL East and the Wild Card race, thanks in large part to Bryce Harper having the kind of season Philadelphia was hoping for when they gave him a massive contract. The slugging outfielder has 32 home runs and an MVP-worthy 1.032 OPS in 2021. Andrew McCutchen is also putting up some very respectable numbers with 24 homers.
Zack Wheeler leads the way in the rotation with a 2.86 ERA and a whopping 225 strikeouts, but the Cubs might miss him in this one. Though he could pitch on regular rest Thursday, the Phillies opted for a bullpen game ahead of his last start in order to lighten the load on the starters. That’s interesting because the bullpen has been a big problem throughout the season with a 4.65 team ERA, sixth-worst in baseball.
The Cubs are back in spoiler mode in this series hoping to keep another team out of the playoffs. The last time they faced Harper when he was this locked in was back in 2018, when a series of intentional walks seemed to derail his year. I don’t think that’s going to happen this season, but at least Derek Holland isn’t around to serve up grand slams.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Tuesday, September 14 at 6:05pm CT on Marquee
- Wednesday, September 15 at 6:05pm CT on Marquee
- Thursday, September 16 at 5:05pm CT on Marquee
What to Watch For
- Patrick Wisdom continues to scuffle at the plate with just four hits in 38 September at-bats.
- Hendricks had a quality start against the Giants after a disastrous August saw his ERA go steadily up.
- Alfonso Rivas has a .397 on-base percentage since coming up to the big league club. However, his OPS is just .699 due to a decided lack of power.