Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (59-35) at Whitney Young Dolphins (38-58)

Technically, the Phillies have the best record in MLB. And technically, the Cubs have the second worst. So technically, the Phillies should slaughter the Cubs. But on artistic merit, the Cubs have a clear advantage and should dominate the series. Paul McCartney is playing Wrigley at the end of the month, so I really don’t know what can stop the Cubbies.

Team Overviews

Keeping up Berselius’s standard, team stats and NL ranks:

Phillies Cubs
wOBA  .313 (8th)   .314 (7th) 
UBR  1.7 (7th)   -12.0 (600th) 
UZR  -10.6 (10th)   -15.5 (13th) 
SP FIP  2.94 (1st)   4.10 (11th) 
RP FIP  3.98 (13th)   4.03 (14th) 
Reasons to Believe   37 (1st)   -6.5 (15th) 

As you can see, despite what all the numbers tell us, the Cubs and the Phillies are actually quite evenly matched. As long as baserunning, starting pitching, and general hopefulness don’t factor into the series, there’s no reason the Cubs can’t take 2 out of 3.

Shane Victorino is due to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, so he could re-enter the lineup in time for a beer shower from the center field bleachers. The Phillies also have other players who are good. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are among the players who are not entirely bad at baseball.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: Roy Halladay, RHP (Really, Good) vs. Rodrigo Lopez, RHP (Not, Quite, As, Good)

This should be a matchup reminiscent of the Big Bad Wolf vs. the House of Straw. If a Cub reaches base, Mike Quade should keep his job.

Tuesday: Cliff Lee, LHP (Better, Than, Everyone, On, Our, Team.0) vs. Matt Garza, Not a LHP even though I always think he is for some reason (Better, Than, I, Thought)

In the month of June, Cliff Lee gave up a certain number of runs, all of them to the vaunted Cubs offense. I expect the Cubs to come within at least one of that output in this matchup alone. Advantage: Cy Young Killers.

WednesdayVance Worley, RHP (So, Lucky, I, Can’t, Even, Take, It) vs. Ryan Dempster (Ace, Without, Problems)

Don’t let Worley’s 2.15 ERA fool you. He’s sporting a 3.32 FIP and dodging the regressive repercussions of a 4.11 xFIP. But that’s not why he’s lucky. He’s lucky because he’s facing the Cubs, to whom bad things are usually destined to happen.

Prediction

The Phillies have won seven consecutive series. The Cubs have won seven series. Of course the Cubs will sweep. Let’s see what happens. 


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