Cubs aim to halt nine-game slide in opener vs. Phillies

Sports

The Chicago Cubs will bid to snap a frustrating nine-game losing streak on Monday night when they host the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a four-game series.

The Cubs dropped a 3-2 decision to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and scored only five runs in the weekend series.

Chicago left eight runners on base and finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s very frustrating,” the Cubs’ Kris Bryant said. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up. You can’t let this game beat you up. It’s pretty crazy what this game will do to you. You don’t see this in any other sport. You have to be a little bit crazy.”

The nine-game skid has sent the Cubs careening back to .500 at 42-42.

“Whenever everybody is collectively struggling, it’s tough,” Bryant said. “You have to find a way to forget — good and bad.”

All the Cubs can do is move forward and try to forget what has transpired at the end of June and the early part of July.

“I think we ran through a really tough schedule in June. And I think July, in my mind, feels like we’re getting some health back,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We get some guys that have been banged up back healthy. Yeah, we’re at the halfway point and on our way to the second half and a whole other half of a season we’re fixing to partake in.”

The Cubs will send right-hander Zach Davies to the mound for his 18th start. Davies (5-5, 4.32 ERA) will make his fourth career start against the Phillies. He’s 2-1 with a 5.19 ERA in the three previous starts.

The Phillies will look to rebound after an 11-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Hector Neris allowed six runs in the ninth inning.

In addition, Andrew McCutchen left the game with oblique tightness, and his status is unclear for Monday’s game.

“It’s part of the game,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “The next guy has got to step up if ‘Cutch’ goes down.”

Even with the loss and all of the issues in their bullpen, the Phillies are just 4 1/2 games of first place in the National League East.

Going up against a reeling team such as the Cubs could catapult the Phillies.

“Obviously, it gives us an opportunity,” Girardi said. “That’s the great part. No one is running away with it.”

Didi Gregorius was held out of Sunday’s game, but his elbow appears to be healthy. That’s a good sign for the Phillies, who need him to boost the offense.

“Hopefully it stays under control. I don’t know,” Gregorius said. “They don’t know. Nobody knows. But hopefully it stays like that. It’s just going day by day and getting checkups every day to see how it is. At least they know what it is.”

Left-hander Matt Moore will take the mound for his fifth start for the Phillies. He is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA this season but has pitched better as of late.

He is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts vs. the Cubs.

–Field Level Media

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