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Phillies and Cubs in Thick of MLB Playoff Race

The Chicago Cubs are clinging to first place in the National League Central and the Philadelphia Phillies are in the thick of the NL Wild Card race. Cole Hamels will take the mound in the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since pitching for the Phillies in 2015. Hamels sported a 114-90 mark with Philadelphia from 2006-15. He was signed as a first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Chicago, NBCS Philadelphia; LINE: Phillies -117; O/U: 9 Under -120.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Cole Hamels (6-3, 3.09 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Aaron Nola (10-3, 3.67)

The Chicago Cubs continue their three-game series against Philadelphia tonight. Hamels did not pitch for the Cubs when they visited Philly last year. He pitched his first 10 seasons with the Phillies and was named World Series MVP in 2008.

Perhaps Hamels return “home” could help a struggling Cubs‘ club. The team has endured horrific troubles away from “The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field”. The National League Central leader fell to 23-36 on the road after Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to Philadelphia. Chicago owns an 0-9-2 mark in its last 11 road series. Chicago’s Nicholas Castellanos continued to endear himself to his new teammates. He had a solo shot among his two hits in the series opener to improve to a robust 19-for-50 with five homers, seven RBI’s, and 13 runs scored since being acquired from Detroit.

The Phillies had their usual uneven performance at the plate mere hours after naming former manager Charlie Manuel as their hitting coach. No one expect immediate miracles from Manuel. The club rang up five extra-base hits while whiffing 15 times. It is not just the Phillies, but strikeouts are up across MLB the last few years with the concentration on “launch angles” instead of making contact. J.T. Realmuto belted a solo homer in the fifth inning and an RBI double in the seventh. It was his second straight multi-hit performance.

This, That, and a Dart Throw

Hamels has resurrected his career in the Windy City. He is leading the Cubs to a 13-6 record this year with the Under going 10-9 in his starts. He only lasted four innings in his previous meeting with the Phillies on May 22nd. That was enough for Chicago to win 8-4 as –172 home favorites. The Cubs have scored 6.37 runs per game behind Hamels compared to five runs on the season. Hamels returned from an oblique injury with a strong performance against Milwaukee on August 3rd before struggling five days later versus Cincinnati, against which he permitted five runs on eight hits in three innings of a no-decision. Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-9 with two homers and four RBI’s against Nola in his career.

Aaron Nola (3.67 ERA) will start for the Phillies. Nola has a 16-9 team record with the Over going 15-9-1. Nola’s gotten plenty of help from his teammates at 5.56 runs per game. They usually are 4.71 on average. Nola sustained his first loss since June 21st on Thursday. He allowed three runs, on seven hits over five innings. It ended in a 5-0 setback at San Francisco. He improved to 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four career starts against Chicago on May 23rd after giving up three runs on four hits in 5-1/3 innings of a 9-7 victory. Nola kept the Cubs in the park in that contest.

RF Bryce Harper is 1-for-11 in his last three games. 1B Rhys Hoskins is mired in a 2-for-32 rut in his last nine games. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the opener.

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The Dart Throw: Phillies 3, Cubs 1

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Phillies Trends

  • Trend Over is 4-1 in Phillies last 5 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5. Hit % 80.00% (5) O/U 4|1 Push 0 W/L
  • Over is 5-1 in Phillies last 6 games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 83.30% (6) 5|1 0
  • Under is 4-1 in Phillies last 5 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. 80.00% (5) 1|4 0
  • Over is 4-0 in Phillies last 4 home games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 100.00% (4) 4|0 0

Cubs Trends

  • Trend Under is 9-4-2 in Cubs last 15 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5. Hit % 69.20% (15) O/U 4|9 Push 2 W/L
  • Over is 7-1 in Cubs last 8 games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 87.50% (8) 5|1 0
  • Over is 5-2 in Cubs last 7 road games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 71.40% (7) 5|2 0
  • Under is 5-1 in Cubs last 6 games as a road favorite of -110 to -150. 83.30% (6) 1|5 0
Meetings Trends
  • Trend Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. Hit % 80.00% (5) O/U 4|1 Push 0 W/L
  • Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings in Philadelphia. 75.00% (5) 1|3 1

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