Offensive issues have highlighted the Philadelphia Phillies’ latest losing streak.
Meanwhile, pitching woes have plagued the Chicago Cubs during their longest winless stretch of 2023.
The Phillies can halt a four-game slide by handing the visiting Cubs their sixth consecutive defeat on Friday night.
Philadelphia was 15-13 on April 29, but is 5-10 since, and mired in its third skid of at least four games. The Phillies are batting .230 with 40 strikeouts and left 37 men on base while being outscored 21-10 in the last four, which included being swept in three games at San Francisco.
“There’s obvious frustration,” said Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber, who is batting .175, and is 1-for-16 in the last five games.
“We obviously want to play better. … We’ve got to keep figuring out a way to get there.”
Returning home where the Phillies are 11-7 and won three straight could help. So, too, might facing the Cubs, who were 11-6 on April 19, but 8-18 since.
Chicago is 8-13 on the road and has lost eight of its last 10 games and 11 of 16 overall in May. The Cubs opened their current nine-game trip with a 6-2 victory at Minnesota, but they have been outscored 47-17 in five games since — and after blowing a 6-1 eighth-inning lead in Wednesday’s 7-6 loss at Houston.
“We’ve got to win that game,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’ve got to pitch better on the back end.”
Chicago relievers have allowed 24 runs, 34 hits, 10 walks and five homers in 16 innings of the last five games. However, its starters have an 8.51 ERA over that same stretch.
Scheduled Cubs starter Marcus Stroman (2-4, 3.24 ERA) was 2-1 with an 0.75 ERA in his first four starts, but 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in the last five. The right-hander yielded season highs of six runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings of Sunday’s 16-3 loss to the Twins.
“Just one of those where I kind of know where I’ve got to get to mechanically, and I was just struggling to get there in the game,” Stroman said.
“Hopefully, work (between starts) and be better (on Friday) against Philly.”
Stroman has been solid while going 4-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 starts versus Philadelphia. He allowed two runs and nine hits over 13 innings to win both 2022 starts against the Phillies, who were outscored 33-10 while losing all six meetings with Chicago last season.
Amid Philadelphia’s offensive problems, J.T. Realmuto is batting .400 with seven RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak. He’s also 7-for-20 against Stroman. Meanwhile, Phillies superstar Bryce Harper is 3-for-15 with no homers in the last four games, and 1-for-13 versus Stroman.
Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez (0-0, 6.75 ERA) is slated to make his second 2023 start after returning from a strained left elbow to allow three runs, seven hits and strike out four in four innings of Saturday’s 7-4 win at Colorado. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Cubs.
Chicago’s Seiya Suzuki is 2-for-3 with a triple versus Suarez, and 10-for-25 with four home runs and eight RBIs in the last seven games.
Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger remains day-to-day with knee soreness that kept him out the last two games. Meanwhile, teammate Nico Hoerner (hamstring) could come off the injured list Friday.
–Field Level Media
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