Cubs @ Phillies: Series Thread (Games 44-46)
The Cubs' offense tallied seven walks and thirteen hits, but pushed across one too few runs to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Astros. They fly into Philly with a record of 19-24. Nico Hoerner is expected to return to the active roster this weekend, and Cody Bellinger remains listed day-to-day after injuring his knee following a leaping catch at the wall in Houston. The 20-23 Phillies are coming off four losses in a row and have sunk to fourth in the NL East. See below for matchups.
Game 44, Friday, May 19, 6:05 pm central
CHC: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-4, 3.24 ERA)
PHI: LHP Ranger Suarez (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
The Cubs take advantage of a Thursday off and roll their rotation back to the top without a fifth starter. Stroman got knocked around in Minnesotat and allowed seven earned runs without reaching the third inning. He'll reset and look to get more of that contact directed to the infield dirt.
Suarez made his MLB debut way back in 2018 but started for a whole season for the first time in 2022. He's had strong showings the last two years, proving to be an effective groundballer. This will be his second start of the season.
Game 45, Saturday, May 20, 3:05 pm central
CHC: RHP Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.66 ERA)
PHI: RHP Aaron Nola (3-3, 4.53 ERA)
Taillon made his second start since returning from the IL and was not permitted to reach the fifth inning. He struck out only one batter in 4.2 innings pitched and allowed seven hits in that time.
Staff ace Aaron Nola is in his walk year having already been a key contributor to the Phillies going back to 2015. He's made nine starts so far. His fastball is down a tick and he's striking out far fewer opponents than usual. He has yet to see a scoreless start.
Game 46, Sunday, May 21, 12:35 pm central
CHC: LHP Justin Steele (6-1, 2.44 ERA)
Houston was unkind to Cubs pitchers, and for once Steele was not the exception. He took his first loss of the season having allowed five earned runs on five hits and a walk in six innings. The outing was more unfortunate than a bad one. His overall performance continues to be strong. He matched a season high eight strikeouts while walking only one.