Sorry about not doing series previews on Monday and Thursday. I should have planned better on Monday, since we were visiting family. Thursday's esxuse is even worse, I forgot there was a game. I thought it was a Friday to Monday series.
Anyway, a lot has happened since we last met. Most notably, of course, is that the Phillies are 4-12 in their last 16 games and have fallen below .500.
So this is the real Phillies, right?
I'm not quite buying that. While I don't think this team is a threat to win 85 or more games, I'll take a 41-game sample size over a 16-game sample. That said, the Phillies have to face two of the teams that gave them trouble, Washington and, starting today, Chicago.
The Phillies have a chance to prove their resiliency this week.
We'll concern ourselves with the Cubs.
Let's look at what this series can tell us by the possible outcomes.
Phillies go 0-3
This isn't out of the realm of possibility. Chicago is the best team in baseball and recently swept the home nine, outscoring them by 12 runs. If the Phillies fall in all three, they'll leave the series 28-32 and headed to division leading Washington. Not where you want to be. It's hard to imagine the Phillies bouncing back from that.
Phillies go 1-2
This is a very likely outcome. The real problem with that is that it sends you out of a 10-game home stand having gone 2-8. That's unacceptable, even for a bad team.
Phillies go 2-1
This really should be the goal. All of a sudden, everyone saying "This is the real Phillies" has to deal with the fact that those "real Phillies" are back at .500 through the season's first 60 games. That's pretty impressive.
Phillies go 3-0
It's tough to see this happening, even if the Phillies offense seems to have woken up against Milwaukee. It's tough to imagine Adam Morgan shutting down the Cubs, and it's tough to imagine the Phillies doing all that well against a staff that held them to five runs in their last series. Stranger things have happened, but I'm not betting on this outcome.
So, let's break down the series
Monday, June 6: 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday, June 7: 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, June 8: 1:05 p.m.
John Lester (6-3, 2.29) vs Adam Morgan (1-4, 7.07)
Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 2.84) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (2-8, 3.93)
Jason Hammel (7-1, 2.14) vs Vincent Velasquez (5-2, 3.67)
What we know about the Cubs
They beat the Phillies like a screen door in a hurricane last month. They're the best team in baseball, as stated above. Getting any wins against them will be tough.
After starting the season on fire, Vincent Velazquez has a 9.00 ERA in his last two starts, including giving up seven runs against these Cubs in less than five frames. Showing a quick turnaround would be great for his confidence and the team's.
What we can't wait to see
Jimmy Parades will never be confused with an All-Star. But he makes a difference in this team's weak lineup. So far, he's hitting .308/.308/.615. No one expects him to keep that up, but if he can get three hits in this series that will provide more than what the Phillies had been getting out of that spot in the lineup. Let's see what he does against good pitching in this series.