After a thrashing by the visitors yesterday, the Cubs and Phillies are entering Saturday’s clash with an identical record at 20-24. Let’s take a look at the odds as both teams will look to reverse their early-season fortunes, but my prediction is for the Phillies to win and hit their moneyline of -165.
Cubs Vs. Phillies Prediction
Game 1 of this weekend set was an absolute party for the visiting Cubs, as they racked up 10 runs on 12 hits and had the win all but secured in the fifth inning. It was a desperately-needed victory, as a 5-game losing streak had dropped their record down from .500 to five games below.
The Phillies have also had a mediocre at best start to the year, after their run to the World Series last fall left them saddled with high expectations. They’ve struggled just about equally in terms of run scoring and run prevention, as the magic that lifted them to baseball’s highest stage seems to have been left in the past- for now at least.
Conversely, the Cubs have actually hit and pitched pretty well- they’re in the top 10 in baseball for runs scored, runs allowed, and run differential. They’ve just had a tough time in close games, partially due to luck that will likely regress to the mean, partially due to a bullpen that is a relative weakness.
As far as the total goes, the Phillies have seen more than 9 runs in each of their past couple of games, while the scoring has gone into double digits in 8 of the Cubs’ past 9 games, including their 6 most recent contests. With that in mind, in a matchup between two starting pitchers who are not off to a great start this season, I’m siding with the over
The result is a tough one; neither team is in great form, but both have the potential to play well above the level they’ve shown recently. I’ll have to stick with both home field and starting pitching advantages; Nola hasn’t had the best start to the year but he’s been much better than Taillon, and perhaps more pointedly the Phillies righty has a much better track record overall.
Cubs Vs. Phillies Prediction: Phillies ML (-165), over 9 runs (-105)
Cubs Vs. Phillies Odds
The Phillies are -165 favorites at home, while the Cubs are +140 to win. For the total of 9, the over is -105 and the under is -115.
Cubs Vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Jameson Taillon Vs. Philly Sluggers
Despite all of his struggles, Taillon has done a pretty good job of keeping the ball in the park. That’s definitely a good thing, but it also makes you wonder how bad things could get if an opponent starts hitting homers- something the Phillies’ best players tend to do.
Kyle Schwarber, for instance, isn’t having a good start to the season overall, but he does have 10 bombs a year after leading the NL with 46 a year ago. Nick Castellanos, famous for hitting his homers at inopportune times in the broadcast, has the ability to hit some at any time, as he did in a strong 2021 when he smacked 34 for the Reds despite missing time. That being said, he came way back to Earth as he had a tough time figuring it out in year 1 in Philly; it’ll be interesting to see how his second campaign with the team pans out.
Lastly, there’s Bryce Harper, who’s hitting pretty much the opposite of the way Schwarber is. He’s getting on base a bunch, but hasn’t put the ball out of the park too often as he’s hit just two homers in 14 games since returning from the IL. Still, these recoveries are tough and it takes time to fully be comfortable again, and when Harper is 100%, there’s genuinely no bat in the MLB I trust more than his.
These stars and others such as JT Realmuto, who is off to a nice start, Trea Turner, who has yet to get it going, and early breakout candidate Brandon Marsh all have the ability to get to a shaky Taillon. The upside of the philly offense is a major reason I have them hitting their -165 moneyline in my Cubs vs. Phillies prediction.
Aaron Nola Vs. 8 Righties
You read that right; 8 of the Cubs’ 9 projected starters are right-handed hitters, with Cody Bellinger out with an injury. That’s huge news for NOLA, who is tossing a pretty material platoon split this year, and much prefers to face righty bats.
The ninth, Ian Happ, is a switch hitter, and he’s absolutely smashed righties this year to the tune of an OPS over 1.000. Happ is off to a great start overall, and there’s every indication that he should be Nola’s biggest hurdle on Saturday afternoon.
Out of the Chicago righties, there’s also a few who have been swinging a solid bat to start this season. One very early surprise is Christopher Morel, who has only played in 9 games so far but has crushed 6 homers and owns an OPS over 1.200- it’ll be fun to see if he can keep his hot start going in Philly.
Patrick Wisdom leads the team with a very impressive 12 home runs so far, and an OPS pushing .900. Seiya Suzuki looks great too, he’s dealt with injuries but is swinging a solid bat at the moment. Newcomers Dansby Swanson and Trey Mancini have struggled a bit, but both have the ability to play at an extremely high level.
Lastly, Nico Hoerner returned from injury with 3 hits on Friday. The second baseman has shown basically no power, but is a valued contact bat as his average sits a .310 coming into Saturday’s contest.
Cubs Vs. Phillies Starting Lineups
Cubs Starting Lineup
2B N. Hoerner R
SS D. Swanson R
LF I. Happ S
RF S. Suzuki R
DH P. Wisdom R
1B T. Mancini R
C Y. Gomes R
CF C. Morel R
3B N. Madrigal R
Phillies Starting Lineup
2B B. Stott L
SS T. Turner R
DH B. Harper L
RF N. Castellanos R
LF K. Schwarber L
C J. Realmuto R
1B A. Bohm R
CF B. Marsh L
3B E. Sosa R