Phillies vs. Cubs Series Preview: Are the Cubs the Cure for What Ails the Phillies?


After a three game sweep at the hands of the Braves, the Phillies have lost five in a row and 12 out of 13.  The good news?  Their next opponent is slightly less imposing than the Braves.  At 49-62, the Cubs are actually a game worse than the Phillies.  Then again, if the Phillies continue to play like they have been, it won’t matter who their opponent is.

Phillies vs. Cubs – The Rivalry

Dale Sveum was a forgettable part of a forgettable 1992 Phillies team. Image Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Back when they were both members of the National League East, the Phillies and Cubs had a decent rivalry.  Since the division alignment was changed and the Cubs were moved to the Central, I’m having trouble thinking of any memorable games between the teams.

It looked like the teams were due for an epic clash in 2008, but despite having the National League’s best record, the Cubs couldn’t get past the Dodgers in the NLDS.  This helped clear the path for the Phillies World Series championship.

Each team’s coaching staff has a member with ties to their opponents.  The Cubs are managed by former Phillie Dale Sveum.  Many Phillies fans will have trouble remembering Sveum’s 54 appearances in 1992.  Let’s hope that his managerial skills are about as strong as his pinch-hitting skills. (He had a .190 average as a pinch hitter for his career)

Phillies third base coach Ryne Sandberg had a slightly more memorable career for the Cubs.  He played for 15 seasons, hit 282 home runs, won an MVP award, and was eventually enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Cubs Player Who Isn’t Entirely Horrible

The Phillies acquired Nate Schierholtz when they traded away Hunter Pence in 2012.  He appeared in 37 games but didn’t make much of an impact mostly due to injuries.  As a result, the Phillies allowed him to become a free agent after the season.

It is odd that the Phillies simply let him go considering that they’ve recently been playing an outfield of Darin Ruf, John Mayberry,  and Delmon Young.  Surely, Schierholtz would have been a better option, especially at a relatively low salary ($ 2.25 million)

The Phillies’ loss has been the Cubs’ gain.  Schierholtz has had a solid season, racking up 14 home runs to go along with a solid .827 OPS.

Cubs Player Who is Horrible

Cody Ransom’s fielding ability has kept him in the major leagues. Image Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Ransom has had a long major league career.  As far as I can tell, this longevity is based almost entirely on his ability to play every infield position.

Ransom has been in the major leagues since 2001, but has never held down a regular job.  While he has been a good fielder, his hitting is simply too weak for him to be an everyday player.

In 2012, Ransom recorded a career high 282 plate appearances in which he batted .220 and struck out an impressive 109 times.  That didn’t deter the Padres from signing him as a free agent, only to drop him after five games.  The Cubs picked him up on waivers and he’s gotten regular playing time at third base.  He does have a surprisingly high total of nine home runs, but his batting average is a paltry .199.

Remember, kids: You don’t have to be able to hit well to have a long career.  You just need to be able to play multiple positions adequately.

Tweet of Optimism

"Domonic Brown expects to rejoin Phillies on Wednesday vs. Cubs. He’s playing for Lakewood tomorrow, Reading on Tuesday.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) August 4, 2013"

It certainly couldn’t hurt to get Dom Brown back on the field.

Tweet of Pessimism

"#Cubs coming off 1-7 homestand. #Phillies have lost 13 of 14 and five series in a row. Yes, relatively speaking, Cubs are the hot team.— thecubreporter (@thecubreporter) August 6, 2013"

The Phillies are now a team that other bad teams look forward to playing in order to stop the losing.

Final Take

That Braves series had the feel of rock bottom.  The Phillies looked awful, but at least they could use the excuse that they were playing a first place team that was on a hot streak.  If they continue to struggle against the Cubs, there’s no telling how ugly this season might get.

For more thoughts on the Phillies as well as other Philly sports, follow me on Twitter @MikeLacy_215