The Phillies travel to Chicago in what will serve as manager Ryne Sandberg’s homecoming to Wrigley Field. The Cubs are probably excited about this, as it should allow them to sell some extra tickets to a series between two teams with losing records.
The Last Time They Met
Earlier this month, the Phillies took two out of three games against the Cubs, including a 12-1 shellacking in the series finale. That game saw Ethan Martin record his first win and Cody Asche hit his first home run in the major leagues. The Phillies hope that both of those things become regular occurrences going forward.
Key Phillies Storyline
Obviously, Sandberg’s homecoming is the big story, but it is also worth watching when Roy Halladay makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. His first start was encouraging, and it will be interesting to see if he can build on that.
Cubs Player Who Isn’t Entirely Horrible
Lately, the Cubs offense has been carried by third baseman Donnie Murphy. Murphy has been in the major leagues since 2004, but has largely been a fringe player. He spent brief stints with the Royals, A’s, and Marlins, but couldn’t hold down a regular job.
Naturally, since being called up by the Cubs at the beginning of the month, he has hit eight home runs in August. Is there an explanation for this unexpected surge? Does he really like hitting at Wrigley Field, or has this just been a fluky run?
Cubs Player Who is Horrible
When they signed him to a long-term contract, the Cubs obviously saw Starlin Castro as a key part of their core. They probably hope that the future goes a little better than 2013 has for the young shortstop. After making the All-Star team in both 2011 and 2012, the Cubs expected him to take another step forward in 2013. That hasn’t happened, and he seems to have regressed both at the plate and in the field.
Castro is batting only .239 for the season, and an abysmal .198 in the month of August. He isn’t even helping them on the base paths. After averaging 24 stolen bases over the past two seasons, he only has eight thus far this year.
Considering that he’s under contract for the next six years, the Cubs had better hope that this is just a one year aberration.
Tweet of Optimism
— Whiz Wit Sports (@WhizWitSports) August 30, 2013
Considering they scored 12 runs the last time he started, I’d say that the Phillies have done pretty well against Samardzija.
While the game might not have much impact on the standings, it will surely be an emotional time for Ryne Sandberg. Hopefully the Phillies play well for him so he can come away from this homecoming with a few victories.
Tags: Baseball Chicago Cubs Cody Asche Donnie Murphy Ethan Martin Jeff Samardzija Mike Lacy MLB Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay Ryne Sandberg Sandberg Homecoming Series Preview Starlin Castro Wrigley Field