After playing three straight series against last-place teams, the Chicago Cubs face an even weaker opponent this weekend when they begin a three-game road series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. The Cubs hope to add to their three-game National League Central lead when they take on the Phillies, who own the worst record in the majors.
The Cubs had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday, but they’ve tripled their division lead over Milwaukee from one game to three while winning eight of their last 11. The Phillies dropped 34 games below .500 with a 9-8 loss to visiting Miami on Thursday. Philadelphia has lost 11 of its last 15. Chicago took three of four when the teams met at Wrigley Field from May 1-4.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Jose Quintana (8-10, 4.27 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jerad Eickhoff (3-7, 4.46)
Quintana is 4-2 with a 3.73 ERA in seven outings since the Cubs acquired him from the cross-town White Sox, and he has posted quality starts in five of those seven games. The 28-year-old Colombian earned his second straight win Saturday, holding Toronto to two runs and four hits over six innings with eight strikeouts. Quintana faced the Phillies in 2013 and allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision.
Eickhoff has gone unbeaten in 10 starts since his last loss on June 7, posting a 3-0 record and a 3.67 ERA over that stretch. The 27-year-old has been inefficient in his past two outings, getting through only 4 2/3 innings Saturday at San Francisco while allowing four runs and eight hits in a no-decision. Eickhoff is 1-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four starts against the Cubs.
1. Cubs sluggers 3B Kris Bryant (3-for-12, seven strikeouts) and 1B Anthony Rizzo (1-for-11, four strikeouts) are hitting a combined .174 against Eickhoff.
2. Phillies LF Rhys Hoskins has belted eight home runs in his first 15 major-league games.
3. The Cubs have drawn at least one walk in a season-high 29 consecutive games.
PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Phillies 4