Charlie Manuel's debut as the Philadelphia Phillies' hitting coach was viewed by the Citizens Bank faithful as an unmitigated success, even if the affable 75-year-old was the first to admit that he had little to do with the club's 11-run, 13-hit outburst. The Phillies will bid to record their first series sweep in seven weeks on Thursday when they conclude a three-game set against the visiting Chicago Cubs.
J.T. Realmuto belted his second grand slam this season and fourth career and Bryce Harper went deep on two occasions as Philadelphia cruised to a 11-1 romp over Chicago on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Realmuto is 6-for-10 with six RBIs and as many runs scored in his last three games overall and 9-for-25 with six extra-base hits (two doubles, four homers) against Chicago this season. While the Phillies vie for their first series sweep since a four-game brush-off of the New York Mets on June 24-27, National League Central-leading Chicago will bid to put the brakes on its pronounced road woes. The Cubs, who fell to 0-10-2 in their last 12 road series following Wednesday's loss, have dropped four of five overall and 37 of 60 away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field this season.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, WGN (Chicago), NBCS Philadelphia
Darvish was done in by the home run ball once again on Friday as the 32-year-old Japan native was taken deep three times among the four hits he allowed in a 5-2 setback at Cincinnati. Darvish has surrendered 26 homers in 132.0 innings this season, although he kept the ball in the park on May 20 and registered a quality start in a no-decision versus Philadelphia. Darvish, who permitted three runs on four hits in six innings in that contest, owns a 1-0 mark with a 1.96 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in three career starts against the Phillies.
Smyly answered a pair of sterling starts after being acquired by Philadelphia with a pair of disastrous ones, totaling 11 runs on as many hits -- including four homers -- over 10 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old was taken deep three times during his six-run performance in no-decision at San Francisco on Friday. Smyly, who has yet to face Chicago in his career, has encountered difficulty against Nicholas Castellanos (3-for-8, two doubles) in a small sample size.
1. Chicago 3B Kris Bryant homered for the second time in three games to improve to a robust 7-for-20 against Philadelphia this season.
2. Harper had three hits on Wednesday after going 4-for-21 with six strikeouts in his previous five games versus the Cubs this season.
3. Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo is 10-for-25 with four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers), seven RBIs and six runs scored versus Philadelphia this season.