Phillies Swept in Doubleheader by Cubs


The Phillies and the 22,538 fans who showed up for an old-fashioned twi-night doubleheader on Friday at Citizens Bank Park were reminded of what a young, up-and-coming, contending baseball team looks like as the visiting Chicago Cubs swept both games by 5-1 and 7-3 scores.

The anemic offense has now scored just 16 runs in the last 7 games, or an average of roughly two per game, and the club has dropped to a season-low of 33 games below the .500 mark.

Meanwhile, the Cubs rose to 24 games above .500 with the sweep. They are still in third place in the NL Central, but their 80-58 record is the fourth best mark in all of MLB, and they now hold a commanding 10-game lead in the loss column on both the Giants and Nationals with roughly 20 games remaining.

In the opener, righty ace Jake Arrieta allowed a 2-out solo home run to Aaron Altherr, his third of the season, to put the Phillies on top 1-0. It would be the only time in front all night for the home nine.

Arrieta (19-6) continued his quest for the NL Cy Young Award by going 8 strong innings in which he allowed just the one earned run. He scattered 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 Phillies batters in lowering his ERA to a phenomenal 1.99 mark on the season.

On the mound for the Phils, Adam Morgan started strong, shutting out the potent Chicago bats over the first 4.2 innings. But the Cubs finally reached him for a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the 5th inning.

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After retiring the first two batters in that 5th, Dexter Fowler singled to right field. He was followed by consecutive RBI doubles to left from both Austin Jackson and Kris Bryant, pushing the Cubs on top by a 2-1 score.

Then in the top of the 6th, Morgan (5-6) was greeted by a pair of singles to start the frame. That was it for the rookie lefty, who was then replaced by Hector Neris. After striking out the first batter he faced, Neris committed the cardinal sin of walking opposing pitcher Arrieta.

Addison Russell then made the Phillies pay for that sin, drilling a 2-run double to left. Both runners allowed by Morgan would score on the play, closing the books on the Phils’ starter. He was charged with 4 earned runs on 7 hits and a walk over 5 official innings, striking out 5 batters. He threw 98 pitches, 68 of them for strikes, and saw his ERA rise to the 4.60 mark.

With two outs in the top of the 7th, Starlin Castro drove his 8th homer of the season out to right center off Neris to complete the scoring, giving Chicago the 5-1 opening game victory.

In the nightcap, Alec Asher made a 3rd consecutive ineffective start to open his big league career. Asher (0-3) lasted 5 innings, allowing 6 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 3 batters, and his ERA rose to an unsightly 10.67 mark.

On the mound for the Cubs, righty Kyle Hendricks delivered another in a series of solid outings. Hendricks (7-6) went 6.2 innings, yielding just 4 hits and 3 earned runs, striking out 5 and walking 2 Phillies batters.

The offensive damage was done by two of Chicago’s fantastic rookies. Bryant went 3-5, including his 24th home run of the season, a 2-run shot with two outs in the 5th off Asher that broke the game open. Kyle Schwarber went 2-4, scoring 3 times and driving in 3 runs with a pair of home runs, giving him 15 on the season.

Much as with Thursday night’s opener, rain will threaten the Saturday night continuation of the series. If they are able to start the game, promising rookie righthander Jerad Eickhoff will take the mound for the Phillies, to be opposed by well-travelled veteran Dan Haren for the visitors. Game time is set for 7:05pm in South Philly.