Series Previews 2018

Phillies welcome Cubs to town with season’s final month beckoning



Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs have the National League’s best record. (Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons)

Coming off of a hard-fought win to close out a disappointing series against the Washington Nationals, the Philadelphia Phillies will host the Chicago Cubs for a weekend series. The Phillies will have their work cut out for them as the Cubs have been red-hot as of late. Currently, the Cubs have won eight of their last nine games. A Cubs victory over the Braves Thursday allowed the Phillies to edge within three games of the National League East lead. Now, as they look to close that gap, the Phillies need to cool the Cubs off. 

On the mound for the Phillies in this series, we will see Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola. Nola’s start was bumped up one day to get an extra start at home, where he’s 9-0 in 2018. He will have his work cut out for him facing yet another ace in Jon Lester. Pivetta and Eflin will be facing off against Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks, as they will pitch games one and two for the Cubs. 

We will not get to see Cole Hamels pitch in this series, but he should receive a proper homecoming this weekend. Given that Hamels has an 0.69 ERA in six starts since joining the Cubs, that’s probably the best possible scenario for the Phillies.

Teams that make the playoffs win (and sometimes even sweep) series against other playoff-caliber teams. The Phillies aren’t catching the Cubs at an ideal time, but this weekend could allow them to make a statement.  

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Jose Quintana (11-9,4.33 ERA, 4.74 FIP) vs. Nick Pivetta (7-10, 4.76 ERA, 3.61 FIP)

Game 2: Kyle Hendricks (10-10, 3.86 ERA, 4.00 FIP) vs. Zach Eflin (9-5, 3.99 ERA, 3.82 FIP)

Game 3: Jon Lester (14-5, 3.67 ERA, 4.78 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola (15-3, 2.10 ERA, 2.62 FIP)

Where to Watch/Listen

Game 1

TV: MLB Network

Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game 2

TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game 3

TV: TBS

Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Series Notes

  • Aaron Nola, who will square off with Jon Lester in the series finale, is 9-0 with a 1.94 ERA in 13 starts at home this season.
  • Jon Lester is 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 13 starts on the road this season. He may not be having as good of a season as Max Scherzer, but it’s the third consecutive start that will see Nola square off with an elite National League starter.
  • Roman Quinn is batting .500 in his last 24 at bats. As Phillies Nation’s Tim Kelly pointed out, he reached three career triples in 42 at-bats quicker than Jimmy Rollins did.
  • Anthony Rizzo has had trouble hitting on the road this year. His batting average at home is .338, but on the road it is only .230.

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  6. Phillies Nuggets: Three Years Later, It’s Still Not Clear What The Phillies Got For Cole Hamels
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  8.  Aaron Nola Is In The Thick Of One Of The Best Cy Young Races In Recent Memory
  9. Jayson Werth: I Think Bryce Harper Has Already Asked Me About Philadelphia 
  10. Jayson Werth Criticizes Ruben Amaro’s Handling Of Him, Cliff Lee

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jeff Orbach

    September 1, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Game one : So far….So good.

  2. Ken Bland

    September 2, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    The Phils list of shortfalls this weekend are plentiful, but here’s one that is truly incredible, though it doesn’t count for anything.

    Say what you want about baseball’s numerous problems with long games, homers/K’s, etc.

    Look past that, and that American League is something else. Much as I despise the DH, the long term tradition of slow pitch softball results, etc, the Junior Circuit might well have the top 6 or so top teams in the game, and for the SECOND time this year, a team has come from practically out of nowhere to contend for an incredibly interesting wild card berth.

    Here’s how this relates to the Phils. If you think back to early in the year when the Phils were beating up on the weak sisters of the sport, one of the teams included in that was the Tampa Bay Rays. Phils swept them then, and dropped the Tampa club to like 3-15. Now, on Labor Day morning, Tampa is 10 over .500, compared to the Phils at 8 over. The Rays are a mere 2.5 games behind the Mariners for the two card. If Tampa gets the 2 card, and plays the Yanks, and this is the incredible thing, Tampa would be about 20 games behind NY in the standings, but have a 1 game chance to go on and end the Yanks year. On top of that, if they get their rotation in order, they could throw Blake Snell, an OUTSTANDING 2018 pitcher that would have a very good shot at being a favorite over any Yanks pitcher. What a great story the Rays are, and this is HARDLY the first time they have overachieved.

    • Matthew Veasey

      September 3, 2018 at 9:02 am

      An excellent take on the AL Wildcard scenario. Let’s face it, whether the Red Sox or Yankees, whoever falls short in that AL East Division championship race is going to be staring that possibility of it all evaporating in one night. And any of the A’s, Astros, Mariners, or Rays are capable of making that happen.

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