The Philadelphia Phillies are back home after a tough weekend against the San Francisco Giants on the west coast. The Phillies lost three of four games, including a 9-6 loss on Sunday Night Baseball. Bryce Harper had fun telling fans to be quiet after a clutch home run in their lone win, but three of four losses is nothing to get excited about. And that’s been the problem with Bryce this season, he might show up and knock in a clutch hit once a month.
That isn’t enough for a guy getting his pay. We’re entering clutch season, so hopefully for the Phillies, the best is yet to come with Harper. Like I’ve said before, if he catches fire and leads the Phillies to a deep postseason run, all will be forgotten for his earlier struggles.
If Harper had been playing well all season, the Phillies are likely threatening the Braves right now. I would need ten hands to count the number of times he’s had a chance to bust a game open and he falls short. Pitching wins games in the postseason. Everyone knows that and Bryce and his $330 million-dollar contract has to counter that. In any event, the Phillies just have to worry about getting to the postseason.
The Phillies aren’t going to the postseason if the Wild Card Game was today. They are two games back, having the day off yesterday so they weren’t about to improve. The Nationals and Cardinals are currently holding onto slim leads. It’s still anyone’s division at this point. Even the Diamondbacks who traded away their ace are in the mix.
That doesn’t speak to how good the middle of the National League is. It’s been pretty bad and the only complete team in the NL to speak of has been the Dodgers. The Phillies welcome a Cubs team who are atop the NL Central by 2 games over the Cardinals. Philadelphia is the second stop on their road trip after a split in Cincinnati against the Reds. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Phillies pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick:
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The Cubs got some positive news on Sunday with the effort by Jon Lester. He showed up and pitched a decent game to get out of a funk. Lester was struggling mightily and that might be a step in the right direction for him. He was able to best ace Luis Castillo and lead the Cubs to a 6-3 win.
A split for the Cubs on the road is an improvement. Considering they have a record of 23-35 on the road, .500 is better than their overall effort as a visitor this season. The Cubs will be on the road for another six games before going back to Wrigley.
They hope to not just win three more games, though. Jose Quintana will be tasked with leading the pitching staff for the Cubs this evening. He enters with a respectable ERA of 4.23 in 129.2 innings. That’s on pace for his career, so no surprises from Quintana.
He has allowed 5 home runs and 15 runs against the Phillies in 139 at-bats. Quintana has been slightly worse pitching on the road, posting a 4.34 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the road. His most recent showing against the Phillies was a success in a 3-2 win, but that was at Wrigley Field.
Former New York Met, Jason Vargas will look to settle in for the Phillies. Vargas was the only member who ended up getting moved after all of those rumors for months. No Wheeler or Syndergaard, but only Vargas.
He was sharp in his debut with the Phillies, allowing 2 runs against the White Sox in 6.1 innings at home. It was a different story for him on the road against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, as he was hit for 4 runs in 5 innings.
Vargas has performed better at home in 2019, posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.18 WHIP as opposed to a 5.23 ERA and 1.33 WHIP on the road. The Phillies as a team have been better at home with a record of 34-26. Philadelphia are one of the most hot and cold teams in the majors.
Following the display they put on San Francisco, the public will likely be on the Cubs here. This is the Phillies, though, and they look like a different team series-to-series. I’m on the Phillies as small home dogs Tuesday night.