Major League Baseball
Preview
Philadelphia at Chi. Cubs
When: 2:20 PM ET, Friday, May 27, 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

While the Chicago Cubs’ rise to prominence is right on schedule, the Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuilding project is well ahead of the expected curve. The surprising Phillies look to continue their strong start when they open a three-game road series against the Cubs on Friday.



The Cubs have had this season in their sights for several years as they waited for a large crop of prospects to arrive, and they’ve lived up to the hype thus far with the best record in the majors. Chicago dropped eight of 12 during a recent slump, but the offense broke out for 21 runs in the final two games of a series victory at St. Louis this week. The Phillies need to rebound after losing consecutive series to Atlanta and Detroit. Philadelphia’s offense has been inconsistent of late, scoring one or zero runs three times in a five-game span before heating up in an 8-5 win in the series finale against the Tigers on Wednesday.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, TCN (Philadelphia), CSN Chicago



PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies LH Adam Morgan (1-2, 5.61 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (4-3, 2.60)

Morgan has lost two straight starts, but he was a tough-luck loser in spite of a strong outing last time he took the mound. After allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in an ugly loss to Cincinnati, the 26-year-old rebounded to hold Atlanta to two runs over six frames in a 2-0 loss Saturday. Morgan faced the Cubs last season and took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits over five innings.

After coming within one out of starting the season with eight consecutive quality starts, Lester had a disastrous outing Saturday at San Francisco. The 32-year-old was rocked for five runs in 2 2/3 innings as he struggled with his command and issued three walks. Lester is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies.



WALK-OFFS

1. The Cubs are 29-0 when leading after eight innings while the Phillies are 0-19 when trailing entering the ninth.

2. Chicago 2B/OF Ben Zobrist is 20-for-46 during a 12-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the National League.

3. Phillies 3B Maikel Franco, who was 5-for-11 in the Detroit series, left Wednesday’s game with a sprained right ankle but plans to play Friday.



PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Phillies 4


Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Philadelphia 26-21 W1 13-9 13-12 14-10 5-8 3-1 4-2
Chi. Cubs 31-14 W2 14-6 17-8 5-1 18-6 6-7 2-0
Last Meeting
Philadelphia Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/13/15 CHC 4 PHI 7 .375 1 1.057 .216 1 .680
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia N/A
Chi. Cubs N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia A. Altherr 0 0 0
Chi. Cubs J. Arrieta 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 0.00 .000 0
Chi. Cubs 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia O. Herrera .327 54 .901
Chi. Cubs B. Zobrist .346 54 .972
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia M. Franco 8 13 26
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo 11 29 35
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 3.72 .236 410
Chi. Cubs 2.74 .258 400