The Final Stand: Cubs – Phillies Series Preview
We have officially arrived to mid-September, with only a few weeks left in the 2021 MLB regular season. As it stands now, the Phillies are in a position that would keep them out of the postseason for the 10th straight season. There are 19 games remaining, and the Phillies are currently 4.5 games behind the NL East leading Atlanta Braves and 2.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second and final Wild Card spot. For the Wild Card, they also have both the Cardinals and Padres a half game ahead of them, making their chances to land a post season spot even harder than it may look on paper.
Tonight, the Phillies will open up a three game series at home against the Chicago Cubs. Much like the Rockies, who somehow took 3-of-4 games from the Phillies at home, the Cubs are not a good baseball team this year and are currently in fourth in the NL Central with a record of 65-79. They have lost 4-of-5 games and are 26-43 on the road this season.
Kyle Gibson will take the mound in game one tonight. He will face Cubs RHP Adrian Sampson. Sampson is not a very good pitcher, holding a 5.37 ERA in 22 starts. It will be his third start of the season for the Chicago Cubs. Gibson, after pitching very well since coming over from the Rangers at the trade deadline, hasn’t performed over his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in the last 10 innings he has thrown.
Much like every game this season, the Phillies can’t afford to lose pretty much any games, especially not against the Chicago Cubs. It’s extremely important that Gibson takes the mound tonight and returns to form. Ranger Suarez will pitch game two and it’s likely that on Thursday, the Phillies will be forced to throw yet another bullpen game.
Pitching doesn’t even matter if the Phillies can’t get things moving at the plate. Outside of Bryce Harper having an MVP caliber season, the Phillies haven’t been consistent from the plate in the slightest, since Rhys Hoskins had season ending surgery. JT Realmuto finally showed signs of life last game and notched his best game at the plate since early August with three hits.
This is the final stand. If the Phillies can’t sweep the Cubs, then we’re doomed. It would also be nice to see the Rockies stay hot, as they travel to Atlanta to face the Braves. From there, the Phillies will head to New York City to face the Mets and the Braves will head out west to play 10.5 games against the Giants, D-Backs, and Padres. Yes, 10.5 games. Once game against the Padres will resume in the fourth inning after being postponed earlier this season.
The Phillies definitely need some help from whoever is playing the Braves. But nothing matters if they can’t beat bad teams in crunch time. As we all know, that still has yet to be proven.
Just Ring It. Or don’t. Whatever.
Mandtory Credit: AP Sports