Friday, May 24, 2024
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MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs (20-24) at Philadelphia Phillies (20-24)


The Cubs and Phillies face each other in six games this season … following the three contests this weekend, the teams will also play June 27-29 at Wrigley Field … Chicago last year picked up the season sweep of the Phillies for the first time in franchise history … the Cubs have won four of the previous five season series against Philadelphia.

THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE: The Chicago Cubs today play the second of three games in Philadelphia in the final leg of a nine-game, three-city, 10-day road trip (2- 5), after winning game one of the series 10-1 … Marcus Stroman picked up his eighth quality start of the season, tied for the most in the majors, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

With the win last night, Chicago snapped a season-high five-game losing streak, the longest such stretch since July 30-Aug. 42 of last season.

The Cubs went 10-3 in 13 games from April 4-19, but have gone 9-18 in 27 contests starting April 20 … Chicago has lost four-straight road series, with the last series victory coming April 17-19 at Oakland.

Today is the 21st game (6-14) of a stretch that sees the team on the road for 16 of 22 contests through May 21.

“IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA” IS SO GOOD: The Cubs have won seven-straight games against the Phillies dating to July 22 of last season, including Chicago’s six-game season-sweep against the Phillies last year, the first in team history against Philadelphia … in these seven games, the Cubs have outscored Philadelphia 43-11 with Cubs hitters picking up 18 doubles, 11 homers and five stolen bases while Chicago pitchers have posted a 1.27 ERA (9 ER/64.0 IP) with a 1.05 WHIP.

The previous time the Cubs won at least seven-straight games against the Phillies was July 7, 1995-June 3, 1996 … the last time the Cubs won more than seven against the foes from Philly? … May 6-June 14, 1947, when they strung together nine consecutive wins.

The Cubs have also won four-straight at Citizens Bank Park, Chicago’s longest winning streak at this stadium … the last win streak of at least four games on the road against the Phillies in any ballpark came July 25, 2000-April 7, 2001 (5 games) at Veterans Stadium.

MORE FOR MOREL: Christopher Morel hit his sixth home run of the season last night in his ninth game of the year … Morel is the second Cub in franchise history (since 1901) to record six home runs in the first nine games of a season, joining Gabby Hartnett (1925) who also tallied six homers in that span.

Morel has scored at least one run in each of his first nine games of the season … the only other Cub since 1900 to do so was Hank Sauer in 1954, who held the streak for 13 games. (credit: Elias Sports Bureau).

What’s more? … Morel has also recorded at least one hit and one run in nine consecutive games … the last Cub to record a stretch of at least nine-straight games with a hit and a run scored was Starlin Castro July 31-Aug. 9, 2011 … Morel is the only Cub in franchise history (since 1901) to hold such a streak from the start of his season.

WELCOME BACK: Nico Hoerner last night returned from the injured list (left hamstring strain) and went 3-for-6 with two doubles and four RBI … he joined a list of three other Cubs hitters who found success in their returns … Seiya Suzuki hit a home run in his first game off the IL (April 14), also his first game of the year … in Cody Bellinger’s return from the Paternity List (April 28), he recorded his only triple of the year and first since Aug. 2, 2022 … and on May 10, Gomes went 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk … all told, in Cubs returns, they are hitting .444 (8-for-18) with 2 doubles, a triple, two homers and seven RBI.

Hoerner’s four RBI tie his career-high … it is the fourth time in his career he has recorded four RBI in a game (also April 21, 2023, Sept. 13, 2019, and Sept. 9, 2019).

SEIYA LATER, BALL!: Between his ninth inning home run on Tuesday and home runs in the first and third innings on Wednesday, Seiya Suzuki went deep in three-straight plate appearances … according to Elias Sports Bureau, Suzuki is the first Cub to have a home run in three consecutive plate appearances since Kris Bryant May 17, 2019 … he is the first Japanese-born player to achieve the feat in the majors. © Seiya’s first home run on Wednesday was his 200th home run in the Nippon Professional Baseball organization (Japan) and Major League Baseball, combined.

Through the first seven games of this road trip, Suzuki is hitting .400 (10-for25) with three doubles, four home runs, seven RBI and five runs scored.

UNDER ATTACK EARLY: Chicago has allowed at least one run in the first inning of each of the previous six games (May 13-19), totaling nine runs by the opponents in that span … the last time the Cubs allowed a run in the first inning in six consecutive games was May 5-12, 2006.

The last time the Cubs gave up first-inning runs in seven-straight games? … Sept. 10-18, 1961 for eight games in a row … eight-straight is a club record and was also done in 1893 and 1890.

LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: The Cubs have scored at least one run in each of their first 44 games in 2023, just the second time in the expansion era (since 1961) the team has gotten on the board in each of its first 44 contests … the longest season-opening streak in this span: 47 G in 1995.

Chicago is one of four teams in the majors this season to have scored at least one run in every game played thus far (also the Diamondbacks, Angels and Blue Jays).

Below is a look at how each Cubs team stacks up through the first 44 games of their season-opening streaks with at least one run scored:

Year Record Win % R RA
2023 20-24 .455 216 185
1995 23-21 .523 197 189

Starting Pitcher – #50 RHP Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.66)
Last Time Out
Jameson received his fourth-straight no-decision in his last outing May 15 in Houston … has allowed three-plus runs in three-straight starts for the eighth time in his career (last, Oct. 4, 2022-April 9, 2023) … his seven hits allowed tied his season-high … struck out one batter or fewer in a game for the fifth time in his career (last June 12, 2021 at Philadelphia).

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
5/15 @HOU ND, 4-6 4.2 7 4 4 1 1 68-44 4-4, 1 on
2023 Splits and Season Notes
Home 0-2 8.49 3 3 11.2 18 12 11 4 14
Road 0-0 4.97 3 3 12.2 12 7 7 3 12
AVG vs. LHB: .326 (15-for-46) / AVG vs. RHB: .273 (15-for-55)

Jameson will make his seventh start of the 2023 season today … is looking for his first win as a Cub … has gone six-straight starts without a win to begin the 2023 campaign, the fourth time in his career that he has failed to earn a win in at least six-straight starts in the same season (last 8, May 7-June 18, 2021) … has walked two or fewer batters in 16-straight outings dating to Aug. 14, 2022, the fifth-longest active streak among major league starting pitchers … opposing hitters are batting .111 (2-for-18) with eight strikeouts against his curveball.

Began his stint on the 15-day injured list April 20 (retroactive to April 17) with a left groin strain … was activated on May 4.

Went 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA (8 ER/18.1 IP) with 23 strikeouts, compared to no walks, during Spring Training … was the only pitcher in the Cactus League with at least 10.0 IP to not walk a batter


GAME #44 RECAP: The Phillies fell to the Chicago Cubs, 10-1, at a sold out Citizens Bank Park … Starter Ranger Suarez (L, 0-1) made his 2023 CBP debut and allowed 4 runs in 2.0 innings with 5 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts … The Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning but the Cubs scored 10 unanswered runs the rest of the night.

TIME TO POKE THE BEAR: Dating to last season, the Phillies have lost seven consecutive games against the Cubs which marks their longest losing streak to Chicago since another seven-game streak, July 7, 1995- June 3, 1996 … During this seven-game skid, the Phillies have scored a total of 11 runs (1.6 per game) and are slashing .201/.272/.271 with only 10 extra-base hits in 254 plate appearances … Philadelphia’s last win against the Cubs came on Sept. 16, 2021, in a 17-8 barnburner at CBP … The last time the Phillies lost eight straight games against the Cubs was a nine-game skid from May 6-June 14, 1947.

BEDLAM AT THE BANK: Through 19 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies are averaging 39,543 in attendance per game which ranks 2nd among all clubs in MLB behind only the Dodgers (47,873) … Of Philadelphia’s first 19 games at home, 11 have been sellouts (58%) and 14 have been over 35,000 (74%).

A REAL UNICORN: Since the start of last season (regular and postseason combined), J.T. Realmuto has played a total of 1600.2 innings at catcher (188 G, 184 GS) … That is 275.2 innings (almost 31 full games) clear of HOU’s Martin Maldonado who ranks 2nd in MLB at 1325.0 innings at catcher … Realmuto started this season slashing .205/.222/.364 (.586 OPS) through his first 11 games (45 PA, 3/30-4/13), but since then, he is slashing .340/.374/.557 (.931 OPS) over his last 27 games (107 PA, since 4/14) … He carries an active 11-game on-base streak into play tonight (.419 OBP, since 5/5).

GO NOLES: Phils starter Aaron Nola has gone at least 6.0 innings in each of his last six starts (since 4/16) and seven of his last eight (since 4/5) … Nola has seven starts this season of at least 6.0 innings which ranks T-5th among all pitchers in MLB … Since 2018, Nola has gone 6.0 innings in 100 of his 152 total starts (65.8%) … His 100 games of at least 6.0 innings pitched since 2018 ranks 3rd among all pitchers in MLB – he trails only Gerrit Cole (115 such starts) and teammate Zack Wheeler (103 such starts) … Since 2018, the Phillies are 62-38 in those 100 games when Nola goes at least 6.0 innings (.620 win %) and when you add two runs or more of support in those games when Nola goes at least 6.0, the Phillies are 57-16 (.781 win %).

RIDING THE SEESAW: Since April 26, the Phillies have played 20 games and are two games under .500 at 9-11 … This 20-game stretch consists of a four-game winning streak (4/26-29), a season-long six-game losing streak (4/30-5/6), a season-best five-game winning streak (5/7-13) and an active five-game losing streak (since 5/14) … The Phillies have opened May with a 5-10 record: five losses to start, followed by five wins and now five losses … Per Elias, the only other time in franchise history that the Phillies had a five-game losing streak followed by a five-game winning streak followed by a five-game losing streak over a span of 15 games in any calendar month was in May of 1897 (at any point in the month, not just to open a month) … The last MLB club prior to the Phillies who did so was Atlanta in April of 2017.

CASTY’S BACK, TELL A FRIEND: Phils right fielder Nick Castellanos has gotten ahead 1-0 in 57 plate appearances this season – after taking ball one, Castellanos is slashing .460/.526/.760 with a 1.286 OPS that ranks 4th out of 225 qualified players in MLB this year … He has nine extra-base hits (6 2B, 3 HR) after getting ahead 1-0 … Last season, Castellanos got ahead 1-0 in 174 plate appearances and totaled only 10 extra-base hits as he slashed .197/.276/.299 with a .575 OPS that ranked 201st out of 203 qualified hitters … Castellanos, slated to hit 2nd in the lineup today (1st time this season), did so on two occasions last year (5/4 vs TEX & 8/28 vs PIT) … In 2021, his last year with the Reds, Castellanos hit 2nd in 34 games and slashed .370/.418/.711 with 21 extra-base hits (8 2B, 3B, 12 HR) in 146 plate appearances.

RIPPING HEATERS: This season, Nick Castellanos has faced 154 four-seam fastballs – he is batting .459 with a .649 SLG against them and has whiffed on only 12.7% of his swings … Last year, Castellanos saw 546 four-seam fastballs and hit .265 with a .460 SLG and 25.7% whiff rate against them … In 2021, Castellanos saw 609 four-seamers and hit .355 with a .780 SLG and 17.2 % whiff rate … For context, Castellanos’ .459 AVG against four-seamers this season ranks 7th among 251 MLB players with at least 30 plate appearances against the pitch – in 2022 his .265 AVG ranked 122nd out of 266 players (min. 100 PA) and in 2021 his .355 AVG ranked 10th out of 269 players (min. 100 PA).

ON THE DOORSTEP OF HISTORY: Right-hander Craig Kimbrel has 1,125 career strikeouts which currently ranks 11th all-time among MLB relievers and he trails Hall-of-Famer Trevor Hoffman (1,133) by eight for 10th place all-time (Kenley Jansen ranks 12th at 1,124) … Over his last 12 appearances (since 4/16) Kimbrel has struck out 23 of the 42 batters he has faced (54.8%) while walking only three (7.1%) … Kimbrel is two saves away from 400 for his career as he looks to become only the 8th pitcher in MLB history to reach 400.

2023: 3-3, 4.53 ERA Career: 81-65, 3.64 ERA

LAST START: 5/14 at COL: L, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, HR … Nola vs Freeland … The Phillies were unable to complete a 3-game sweep over the Rockies with a 4-0 loss in Denver on Mother’s Day … Nola’s 3-game win streak was snapped and was his 1st loss since 4/11 vs MIA … Was Nola’s 7th straight outing of at least 6.0 IP … Phils offense finished the game 0-for-14 with RISP and left 10 men on base.

Philly Value: Since 2018, Nola is the only pitcher in baseball to accrue more than 20.0 fWAR (22.5) and pitch for only one team … In that span, he ranks 5th overall in fWAR behind only Jacob deGrom (27.1), Max Scherzer (25.6), Gerrit Cole (25.0) and Zack Wheeler (24.0) … His 30.9 fWAR as a Phillie is 8th-most in franchise history among pitchers and he trails Hall-of-Famer Jim Bunning (31.2) for 7th place.

2023 NL Ranks: Quality starts (T-8th; 5), IP (6th; 55.2), BB/9.0 IP (8th; 1.94), SO/BB ratio (11th; 3.58)

Home Body: Nola has a 2.13 ERA (10 ER, 42.1 IP) with 10 BB, 46 SO and has held opponents to a .216/.268/.333 slash line over his last 7 home starts (since 8/25/22) … Three of those starts have been scoreless

Caught Lookin’: Entering play today, Nola ranks T-6th among all ML pitchers this year in called strikeouts (18) … Since the start of the 2018 season, only Gerrit Cole (318) has more backwards K’s than Nola (316) … The next closest pitcher on that list in Sonny Gray who has 245 … Since 2018, 30% of Nola’s strikeouts have been called (316 of 1,050)

Top of the Class: Since 2018, Nola leads all ML pitchers in starts (152) and ranks 2nd in IP (927.1) and is 3rd in SO (1,050)

On the 5th Day, You Shall Rest: Nola, who has 5 days of rest, has made 92 career starts with 5 days of rest, and in those starts is 39-20 with a 3.08 ERA (195 ER, 569.0 IP) … He has a 4.27 ERA (276 ER, 582.0 IP) in 98 starts on 4 days rest

Walk Talk: Nola has not walked a batter in 3 of his 9 starts this season … His 1.94 BB/9.0 IP ranks 8th among NL pitchers … Since the start of last season, Nola’s 4.0% walk rate (41 BB, 1,031 BF) is 2nd lowest among all pitchers with at least 750 batters faced (TOR’s Gausman is 1st at 3.9%)

vs NL Central: 23-10, 3.31 ERA (99 ER, 269.1 IP) in 43 starts

2023: 1-1, 4.34 ERA (9 ER, 18.2 IP) in 3 starts

Career: 45-25, 3.22 ERA (231 ER, 646.1 IP) in 104 starts

2023 SEASON:
Recorded his 1,400th career strikeout on 4/21 vs COL, the 5thyoungest to reach the mark among the 20 active pitchers to do so at the time

Made his 6th straight Opening Day, extending his MLB-best active streak of Opening Day starts

Was the first pitcher in baseball to make 6 straight Opening Day starts since Julio Teheran in made his 6th consecutive for ATL in 2019, and joins Robin Roberts (12) and Steve Carlton (10) as the only Phillies to do

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