Bryce Harper has produced an MVP type of season. He just hasn’t had much help from his teammates.
That’s not the only reason the Philadelphia Phillies fell to 72-72 after a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. But the offense has been stagnant up and down the lineup far too often this season. And it may leave the Phillies out of the playoffs once again.
The Phillies will host the Cubs (66-79) in the second game of this three-game series Wednesday as the home team remains in search of its first playoff berth since 2011.
“We’ve had guys that have had years that are not what we expected them to have,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “There’s other spots that we have struggled as well. It’s not just the left side of the infield. It’s frustrating. It’s hard to be consistent when you have that. You need production up and down your lineup to consistently win, and that’s something we struggled with this year.”
The Phillies dropped two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers and three of four to the Colorado Rockies before this latest loss to the Cubs. Only 18 games remain as the playoff hopes are fading.
The Phillies are 4 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.
“We still have an opportunity here,” Girardi said. “We just need to play better.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to Ranger Suarez (6-4, 1.38 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career appearances totaling three innings against the Cubs.
Suarez was effective in his last outing against the Rockies as he allowed five hits and one run in six innings.
After suffering a three-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants, the Cubs will now look to win their second in a row over the Phillies.
The Cubs received a two-run home run from Patrick Wisdom and the first career homer from Alfonso Rivas on Tuesday.
This new-look group of Cubs continues to improve as the organization evaluates how to proceed in the offseason since a number of big-name players, such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, were traded.
“I think when you start chasing other organizations’ ways of doing things, you might lose sight of what you find important,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We also want to stay true to the things that we have been a part of here and recognize in winning and make sure we do things the way the Cubs do.”
Despite the losses to the surging Giants, Ross has been impressed with his young team. No matter the circumstances, the Cubs refuse to be fazed.
“Up and down the lineup, guys are competing,” Ross said. “When you get good pitching, then you’re in those ballgames. You end up winning most of those.”
Alec Mills (6-6, 4.35) is scheduled to start for the Cubs. Mills is 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA in his career against the Phillies.
“For me, he’s been as consistent a guy (as) I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Ross said.
–Field Level Media