The Chicago Cubs continue their unprecedented march to the postseason with a series against the struggling Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies got blasted by the Braves last night by a score of 8-1. No offense, no pitching, not much of anything for the Phillies to hand their hat on. After they sent Chase Utley packing out of town, the Phillies have seemed to give up on the year. They were of course bad before then, but there isn’t much effort now. All they are doing is collecting paycheck out there every night. These are teams truly on the opposite ends of the table. The young Cubbies are on a mission to do something the team hasn’t done in a century. Meanwhile the Phillies are starting at 0 and have to start what is looking like a long rebuilding process. In order to be good in the future it is necessary to start at the beginning. That notion was solidified after they traded Utley to the Dodgers. Utley had a good career with the Phillies, but now he’ll have a chance at the World Series in LA.
What left is there to say about Jake Arrieta? Looking like a sure favorite for the Cy Young, Arrieta has torched opposing hitters with relative ease. He doesn’t have the name of a guy that would make you jump out of your season if you don’t follow baseball all that closely, but Arrieta is worth getting to know if you don’t already. I’ll touch on him throughout my article some more. The Cubs are going to need more of this in the postseason from him. There is always the thought that he slips off in the playoffs, which has happened to great regular season pitchers in the past. Look at Clayton Kershaw. Arrieta doesn’t want to fall into that hole. Watching him pitch now it’s hard to believe that he’ll have a hard time in the postseason. He and the Cubs head to Philadelphia for the weekend, looking to extend his flawless run on the mound.
Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Jake Arrieta (18-6, 2.03 ERA) vs. Adam Morgan (5-5, 4.42 ERA)
It doesn’t take long to note how special Arrieta is. He was pitching good baseball before the All-Star break, but he’s taken it to another level now. Here lately he has been on another level, matching the kind of run Zack Greinke had earlier in the season. Unlike Greinke though, a lot of people don’t even know who Arrieta is. For a guy with a 0.00 ERA in his last four games that shouldn’t be the case. That goes without saying he hasn’t allowed a run. In fact, in his last seven starts he hasn’t allowed a run in six of them. 7-3 of his last ten starts he didn’t allow a single run to cross the plate. He can pitch on the road too, with a 1.76 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, better than how he has done at Wrigley.
Adam Morgan came to the Phillies later in the season from their minor league system. And why not, the Phils’ season was already in the toilet, so it is always advised to give your young guys in the minors some experience and a taste of what they can give your ball club. There are a lot of pitchers that struggle in their opening campaign and then look good in future years. Morgan is hoping he is one of them. Right now he is struggling with a 4.42 ERA and a 6.19 ERA in his past three starts. The Phillies haven’t been scoring as well as their pitching woes. Note that they’ve scored more than 2 runs only once in their last five appearances. Look for Arrieta to make quick work of the Phillies tonight, with the Cubs cruising to another victory.
PICK: CUBS -1.5 (-135)