The Philadelphia Phillies (41-42, 17-26 away) and Chicago Cubs (42-44, 26-15 home) continue with game three of a four-game series Wednesday night in Chicago. Philadelphia has handed the Cubs a pair of blowout losses over the first two games of the series.
The first pitch of Wednesday night’s contest is at 8:05 p.m. EST inside Wrigley Field. According to oddsmakers, Philadelphia is the betting favorite (-140), and the current run total can be found at 7.5.
What to Know – Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia has won four of its last five games as it aims to close out the first half of the season strong. A win Wednesday night would get the Phillies back to .500 with four games remaining until the break. The Phillies are second in the National League East standings, four games out of the top spot.
All-Star Zack Wheeler (6-4, 2.05 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) makes his final start of the first half for the visitors. Wheeler has been dominant this season on the mound, surrendering 26 earned runs over 114.0 innings of work. The 31-year old hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts, pitching 14.2 innings, scattering eight hits with 17 strikeouts.
The Phillies are 14th in the MLB and 7th in the NL, with a .239 team batting average. First baseman Rhys Hoskins has homered in three of the last four games and drove in nine runs in that time. The young slugger leads the Phillies with 20 home runs and 53 runs driven in.
What to Know – Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs once sat atop the NL Central standings but have lost 11 games in a row and tumbled to fourth place in the divisional standings. Chicago’s misfortune over the last two weeks has been a bit of everything, but the Cubs have surrendered 13 or more runs in four of the losses.
Right-hander Alec Mills (3-2, 4.85 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) tries to get the Cubs back in the win column. The 29-year old won’t go deep into games but has been effective in short stints in 2021. Mills’ longest outing was his last, tossing 5.2 innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts in the loss.
While the pitching has been subpar for the Cubs, their .226 team batting average isn’t much better. Javier Baez has a team-high 21 home runs and 56 RBI for the host, and Kris Bryant was selected for his fourth All-Star game. Bryant is batting a team-high .270 and has scored 49 runs.
Philadelphia has beaten up on the Cubs in the last two outings scoring 28 runs in the process. Now, the Phillies send their All-Star arm to the mound to try and give the visitors their third win against the host in as many tries.
The Cubbies need to do some soul searching before tonight’s contest and figure out how they’d like to end this first half of play. With five games to play, Chicago can work their way back in the NL Central standings or dig themselves further out of contention.
The Phillies won’t score double-digit runs again, but it won’t matter with Wheeler taking advantage of the Cubs’ offensive lineup.
The Pick: Philadelphia Phillies ML