Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick & Prediction MAY 21st 2023

Stadium: Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia
Logo Chicago Cubs
Logo Philadelphia Phillies

9o -115
-1.5 +165



Following an exceptional start to the season, Justin Steele has come back down to earth for the Chicago Cubs.

Facing a host Philadelphia Phillies club eyeing another winning stretch might not make it any easier for the left-hander to get back on track in Sunday's decisive finale of a three-game set.

Steele (6-1, 2.44 ERA) recorded 14 straight starts of allowing two or fewer earned runs, and had a 1.45 ERA through the first seven of 2023, before yielding three runs on seven hits in six innings of a 10-4 win over St. Louis on May 10. Then while dealing with flu-like symptoms, Steele followed by allowing a season-high five runs -- four in the fourth inning -- and five hits in gutting out six innings of Chicago's 7-3 loss at Houston on Tuesday.

"(The Astros) did a good job of punishing me when I left stuff over the plate," Steele said. "(But) I was happy with how I was able to settle down."

Steele allowed a Kyle Schwarber first-inning homer when he pitched against the Phillies on July 22, 2022. However, that was the only run he allowed through five innings during the Cubs' 15-2 road rout.

That's Schwarber's only hit in five at-bats versus Steele, but the ex-Cub drilled a grand slam to highlight Philadelphia's six-run first inning en route to Saturday's 12-3 win that snapped a five-game skid.

The Phillies are 10-11 since April 26, beginning that stretch with a four-game winning streak, then six straight defeats, followed by five consecutive wins and those five losses in a row before Saturday.

"A little skid there, but we were able to get back on the board," Schwarber, batting .176, told NBC Sports Philadelphia. "Good offensive approaches."

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner is 0-for-1 with a walk against Steele and is expected to be back in the lineup after getting the day off Saturday. Signed to an 11-year, $300 million deal, Turner went 0-for-4 in Friday's 10-1 loss to Chicago, is batting .257 with just four homers, has a .302 on-base percentage and has already committed six errors.

"I think sometimes the offense goes to your defense, and it's just natural," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. "But I think he's played OK."

Philadelphia, meanwhile, does not currently have a fifth starter after Bailey Falter was optioned to Triple-A earlier this week. Taijuan Walker (3-2, 6.53) is slated to start on short rest Sunday after allowing four runs, four hits and two walks on 40 pitches over two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday's 7-4 loss at San Francisco.

"I checked with the medical people, pitching (coaches), talked to Taijuan, and he's good to go for (Sunday)," Thomson said.

The right-hander has failed to complete five innings in five of his nine starts. He's 1-2 in four career starts against the Cubs, but has a 3.74 ERA in those games.

Chicago's Trey Mancini is 3-for-5 with a double and a walk against Walker. Teammate Christopher Morel is 1-for-2 versus Walker. Morel is batting .381 (16-for-42) with 13 RBIs in 10 games, and hit two of his seven homers in this series, since making his 2023 debut.

The Cubs have lost 18 of 26 games and are 3-12 in their last 15 road games.

--Field Level Media

Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies

Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Recap MAY 21TH 2023

Kyle Schwarber's grand slam highlighted a six-run first and Aaron Nola allowed two runs while striking out 10 over seven innings as the Philadelphia Phillies snapped a five-game losing streak with Saturday's 12-3 rout of the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Kody Clemens (2-for-4) also belted a two-run shot in the first and Edmundo Sosa added three hits with an RBI. Bryson Stott went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Phillies, who broke out after totaling 11 runs during that five-game skid, and no more than four in any of those contests.

Nola (4-3) allowed only a two-run, sixth-inning homer to Dansby Swanson, plus three other hits and one walk, while lasting seven for a second consecutive outing.

After being held to three hits during Friday's 10-1 loss, Philadelphia totaled four against Cubs starter Jameson Taillon (0-3) in the first.

Stott and Nick Castellanos opened with back-to-back singles, then Bryce Harper (two hits, RBI) walked. Following a J.T. Realmuto pop out, ex-Cub Schwarber clubbed a Taillon pitch into the second deck of the right-field seats for his sixth career grand slam.

Alec Bohm then reached on an error by third baseman Patrick Wisdom and eventually scored on Clemens' drive into the right-center field seats for his fourth homer of the season and a 6-0 Philadelphia lead.

According to Marquee Sports Network, the Cubs have allowed at least one first-inning run in seven consecutive games for the first time since 1961.

Taillon was charged with eight runs (six earned) while giving up six hits and three walks in just 2 1/3 innings, as Chicago lost for the 18th time in 26 games.

Christopher Morel extended his hitting streak to 10 games since making his debut on May 9. He went 2-for-3 with his seventh homer for the Cubs, who are mired in a 3-12 road stretch.

Philadelphia shortstop Trea Turner, batting .257 with just four homers on the season, was given the day off following an 0-for-4 performance Friday, when he also committed an error.

--Field Level Media