With their loss last night, the Cubs went from a four-game win streak to now losers of three straight and at risk of getting swept. The return home from the London Series has not been ideal for Chicago, and they have their work cut out for them tonight with a Phillies lineup that has scored 13 runs through the first two games of the series. We’ll preview tonight’s game before going over which prop market I’ll be targeting.
It did not take long for the Phillies to get the scoring going last night, as they put up five runs in the second inning off Cubs starter Drew Smyly. Philadelphia made it a short night for the Cubs left-hander as he exited the game after 3 ⅔ innings with seven earned runs allowed on nine hits. Two of those hits and five of those runs came from home runs by Edmundo Sosa and Nick Castellanos.
Overall, the Phillies racked up 11 hits, leading to their 8-5 win. Phillies starter Aaron Nola should certainly be grateful for his offense since he was not his sharpest last night, allowing four earned runs in five innings. Getting the ball for Philadelphia tonight will be right-hander Taijuan Walker, who has been phenomenal as of late. The right-hander has turned in four straight starts in which he has allowed one or fewer earned runs with five or more strikeouts.
Walker will face a Cubs lineup that showed more signs of life last night than they did in the opening game of this series but still ended the game with ten strikeouts and 16 runners left on base. Three of the team's ten hits went for extra bases, including Dansby Swanson and Jared Young's home runs. Christopher Morel and Ian Happ would also drive in runs as well.
With the Cubs pitching staff struggling in the series' first two games, they will turn to Kyle Hendricks to make the start tonight. The veteran right-hander has been solid in his six starts this season, pitching to a 2.60 ERA in 34.7 innings. Hendricks secured his third straight win in his last outing by throwing 6 ⅓ innings with three runs allowed (one earned).
Nick Castellanos was one of the biggest reasons for the Phillies' offensive outburst yesterday, and tonight I’ll be backing him to do it again. For my prop play, I’m taking Castellanos to go over 1.5 total bases which is priced at (+115). The Phillies slugger is averaging 1.9 bases per game over his last ten games, and he has had success against Hendricks in the past.
In 16 at-bats against the Cubs starter, Castellanos is hitting .313 with a .366 wOBA. His expected batting average against Hendricks is currently .382, which is understandable with his current numbers in this spot. Castellanos is hitting .306 with a .793 OPS against right-handed pitching on the road this season. On a more advanced level, he has a 113 wRC+, .341 wOBA, and .405 BAbip in this spot as well.
Castellanos is also in the 71st percentile in hard hit percentage and 85th percentile in expected batting average, which is good news for his bettors since Hendricks is in the 27th percentile in expected batting average. With Hendricks xFIP of 5.27 at home, he could be due for a regression, but at the very least, I think Castellanos could produce some strong plate appearances against him tonight.
Nick Castellanos Over 1.5 Total Bases (+115)