Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Wednesday's NL Tip Sheet

Cubs at Phillies (-115, 9) – 7:05 PM EST

Philadelphia (61-58) rebounded from a 2-5 road swing at Arizona and San Francisco to edge Chicago (64-55) on Tuesday, 4-2 in the opener of its three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies broke a late 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth inning, while Philadelphia won for the first time in three starts with Jason Vargas on the mound.

Chicago’s lead atop the NL Central has been trimmed to one game following last night’s loss combined with St. Louis’ 2-0 victory at Kansas City. The Cubs also dropped to 2-10 in their past 12 road series openers and 1-13 in the last 14 games off an away win dating back to mid-May. Since the end of May, Chicago has lost 25 of its past 36 contests away from Wrigley Field, while its last road series victory came at Washington back on May 19.

The Phillies swept the Mets in late June at home, which included back-to-back walk-off wins. Since then, Philadelphia has stumbled to an 8-9 record at Citizens Bank Park, while winning consecutive home games only once. The Phillies remain in the NL Wild Card race by sitting two games behind St. Louis for the second position, but the Brewers, Mets, and Diamondbacks are also in the mix.

Cole Hamels (6-3, 3.09 ERA) makes his first start at Citizens Bank Park since getting traded by the Phillies to the Rangers back in 2015. Hamels helped lead Philadelphia to the 2008 World Series title over Tampa Bay, but is back in the City of Brotherly Love making his third start since a stint on the injured list in July. The southpaw tossed only three innings in his last outing at Cincinnati, while allowing five runs and eight hits, but Chicago pulled away for a 12-5 win. The last time Hamels faced the Phillies at home on May 22, the Cubs rallied from a 3-0 deficit to pick up an 8-4 victory in spite of him giving up three runs in four innings.

The Phillies counter with their ace as Aaron Nola (10-3, 3.67 ERA) was outdueled by San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner in his last outing in a 5-0 defeat last Thursday. Nola allowed three runs in five innings of work, but the Phillies had their four-game winning streak snapped in the right-hander’s past four outings. Nola defeated the Cubs at Wrigley two months ago in a 9-7 triumph as Philadelphia jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Phillies have won four of Nola’s last five starts at Citizens Bank Park, but he lost to the Cubs at home last September in an 8-1 defeat as he allowed three home runs in less than six innings of work.

Dodgers (-280, 8) at Marlins – 7:10 PM EST

Two teams reached the 80-win mark on the season last night. One was the Yankees, who improved to 80-41 with another blowout of the Orioles. The other club to reach that elite mark was the Dodgers (80-41), who continue to run away with the NL West after rolling past the Marlins (44-74) by a 15-1 rout to move to 4-0 this season against Miami. Since edging the Marlins in the first meeting, 2-1 at Dodger Stadium on July 19, Los Angeles has scored 10, 9, and 15 runs in the last three wins in the series. In Tuesday’s blowout, the Dodgers hit six home runs, including the 39th from MVP candidate Cody Bellinger.

Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 2.77 ERA) was scheduled to start on Tuesday, but was pushed back to tonight due to an extra day of rest. Kershaw is unbeaten in his last five outings, while allowing six earned runs in this span. The former Cy Young winner is fresh off home victories against the Padres and Cardinals, while last taking the mound on August 6 in a 3-1 triumph over St. Louis. Kershaw tossed six scoreless innings and struck out 10 batters in a 10-6 victory over Miami at Chavez Ravine on July 20 as a heavy -300 favorite.

The Marlins have dropped nine of their last 11 games, as one of the two wins in this span came in last Saturday’s dramatic comeback victory over Atlanta. Miami enters tonight’s action owning a 1-6 record in its last seven Game 2’s of a home series after dropping the series opener. Elieser Hernandez (2-4, 4.94 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season by scattering two hits in six scoreless innings last Thursday night in a 9-2 rout of the Braves as a +190 home underdog.

Mets at Braves (-142, 10) – 7:20 PM EST

The race to the finish for the two Wild Card spots in the National League will be fun as seven teams are within striking distance. Three of those teams reside in the NL East (Nationals, Phillies, Mets), but the Wild Card is likely the best prize they will receive as the Braves (71-50) own a six-game advantage over Washington. Atlanta captured the first game of a three-game set at SunTrust Park in Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over New York (61-58) to send the Mets to their second consecutive loss following an incredible 15-1 run.

The Braves likely won’t catch the Dodgers for the best record in the National League, but Atlanta sits in a good position for the second-best mark by sitting six games better than Chicago, who paces the NL Central. Dating back to mid-July, the Braves have won three straight games only once, as Atlanta is fresh off back-to-back victories. However, Atlanta has posted a mediocre 5-6 record in its last 11 games at SunTrust Park, while last winning consecutive home contests on July 4 and 5.

Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.83 ERA) is coming off his worst start since signing with the Braves earlier this season as the southpaw was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs in less than four innings of a 9-2 loss at Miami last Thursday. Since winning back-to-back starts against Miami and San Diego in July, the Braves are 1-4 in Keuchel’s last five starts, while the 2015 AL Cy Young winner has given up three runs or more four times in this span.

The Mets send out the top left-hander in their rotation as Steven Matz (7-7, 4.49 ERA) tries to capitalize off a victory over Miami in his last outing. Matz is trying to seek consistency as the Mets have alternated wins and losses in his five starts since the All-Star break, as New York is winless in his past two road outings. Matz defeated the Braves at SunTrust Park in April, but the Mets are 0-2 in his last two starts against Atlanta, including lasting two innings in a 5-4 home defeat on June 29.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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