Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago Illinois
When: Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 7:00 pm Eastern
We have a National League matchup to consider for Tuesday evening when the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs meet under threatening skies and temps in the mid-fifties. This is game two of their four-game series and this preview is being written and published prior to the start of game one being played on Monday night. All stats and opinions are based on the completion of Sunday’s games.
Philadelphia is in first-place in the National League East and plans on righty Zach Eflin to start on the hill for the Phillies. Chicago is first in the National League Central and will look to lefty Jose Quintana to silence the big Philly bats. I’m the Flash and will be discussing this game with you today.
Phillies Three Game Winning Streak
The Phillies are doing exactly what they need to do and that is to win baseball games. Entering Monday’s matchup with the Cubs, Philadelphia has won three consecutive games and six of their past ten. The Phillies boast a top ten offense, led by off-season acquisitions J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper. Philadelphia is 9-9 this season away from Citizens Bank Park and that could play a factor in this game.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 19, 2019
Philadelphia doesn’t have any significant injuries for their series with the Cubs.
Eflin (5-4, 2.89 ERA) has been good for the Phillies this season and boasts an impressive 2.89 ERA but his 4.43 xFIP suggests maybe Eflin has been lucky this season and will likely see some regression at some point this season.
Eflin has posted solid numbers this season; 7.23 strikeouts, 1.45 walks, and 1.29 bombs per nine innings pitched is nothing to shake a stick at but he’s up against the Chicago Cubs and their second-best offense in baseball against right-handed pitching this season. The Cubs strikeout rate of 22 percent could bail out Eflin but where he’s going to run into trouble is the Cubs .360 OBP and their .202 ISO. Eflin is probably hoping his luck will continue dealing with this on Tuesday.
Cubs 15-6 Record This Season at Wrigley Field
The Cubs are cruising right along this season with a 27-17 record with 15 of those wins at Wrigley Field this season. Led by infielders Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, Chicago boasts the fourth best offense in baseball and the Achilles Heel seems to be the bullpen; blowing 56 percent of it’s save opportunities this early in the season isn’t a good thing at all. Temporary closer Steve Cishek recorded three saves in the last seven days in place of injured closer Pedro Strop so maybe the Cubs have solved their closer situation.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 19, 2019
The Cubs have injury concerns for this series as Baez is listed as day to day with a heel injury and Ben Zobrist is out indefinitely for personal reasons and Strop is out for a while with a hamstring issue. Zobrist has an OBP of .343 and a .012 ISO in 99 plate appearances this season.
Quintana (4-3, 3.68 ERA) has lost consecutive games to the Brewers at home and suffered a road loss to the Reds, but outside of that, Quintana has been one of the Cubs best starting pitchers this season. The veteran southpaw has a 3.68 ERA but his 3.55 xFIP suggests maybe a little bit of bad luck has fallen Quintana’s way thus far this season.
Quintana has put up solid numbers this season with 8.77 strikeouts, 2.63 walks and 1.23 bombs per nine innings pitched and he will need every bit of those numbers against a Phillies team with a 19 percent strikeout rate, .331 OBP and .183 ISO this season against left-handed pitching.
- Cubs are 5-1 in Quintana’s last 6 starts during game 2 of a series.
- Cubs are 5-1 in Quintanas last 6 Tuesday starts.
- Cubs are 4-1 in Quintana’s last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
- Phillies are 2-9 in Eflin’s last 11 road starts.
- Phillies are 1-5 in Eflin’s last 6 starts during game 2 of a series.
- Phillies are 1-5 in Eflin’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I’m a big fan of the Cubs at home and especially when the weather is cold and nasty like it will be Tuesday night. Chicago is 12-5 this season as the home favorite and the Phillies are 3-4 as the road underdog. I like Quintana and his strikeout numbers more than I do Eflin at this point of the season and especially so in this weather. I saw the following trends that could be helpful for Tuesday night;
- Phillies are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings.
- Phillies are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Chicago.
Cash with the Flash and play the Cubs to beat the Phillies on Tuesday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
I don’t see many runs being scored on a cold, wet night like it will be in Chicago on Tuesday night. Especially not with the way Eflin and Quintana have been throwing the baseball this season. Neither starter issues many free passes either so if there is a bomb or two hit it won’t likely be with that many runners on base. Wrigley Field has surrendered the least amount of dingers per game this season and I look for that trend to continue on Tuesday. Cash with the Flash and play the under Tuesday night.