The Phillies: Back when we were predicting the next few series' for the Phillies, the assumption was this surprisingly over-.500 team would mow right through Atlanta, Cincinnati, Miami, Atlanta again, and then get something of a challenge in Detroit before heading to Wrigley Field to face the best team in baseball. At that point, the Phillies were to be ten or twelve games over .500, and having proven the Cubs are entirely beatable (as long you're the Phillies), this was to be their statement series. Instead, the Phillies somehow lost a bunch of games to the Tigers (even though they don't have any pitchers) and the Braves (even though they don't have a team). Now we're here. Happy Memorial Day, everyone.
The Cubs: Everyone has to play the Cubs at some point, and now it's the Phillies' turn. Sorry, Phillies. We could talk about Jorge Soler making paper cup-binoculars or Kris Bryant making plate adjustments. But what's the point? This team won 25 of its first 31 games. L's are starting to dot their schedule with a bit more frequency of late - and if they are susceptible to anything, it's one-run losses, the Phillies' specialty - but this team is good, and you know that. Let's just enjoy three straight days of baseball in the sunshine and see what happens.
Ben Zobrist: You know Zobrist by now, even though he has a penchant for playing for scrappy, colorful American League teams. As a skilled hitter who can play literally anywhere on the field, I have no idea why this man isn't considered the greatest baseball player of all time. He won't kill you with dingers, though, which is good for the shellshocked Phillies pitching staff after that nightmare in Detroit. He'll probably just single them to death, which also sucks.
Dexter Fowler: It's kind of funny that on a team you picture with so many young stars, it's the two older vets getting regular playing time who are putting up some of the best offensive numbers (Since May 1, Fowler has not had a hit in an appearance only four times). Is that funny? Do I not remember what "funny" means? It may not be funny.
Kris Bryant: Let's just pick one of the freaking 24-year-old baseball prodigies. Is he great? Yes. Will he beat Phillies pitching at some point? Probably. Will he make a key defensive play that gets the Phillies into the weekend's web gems (because I assume they'll cut to a shot of a frustrated Phillies hitter after Bryant makes an astounding catch or something)? Sure. But the important thing is that Bryant, a former third baseman turned outfielder, is finally starting to crumble under the intensity of his transition to the outfield.
"The worst thing is when you're leading off the inning and you're in left field and [the team] is in the first-base dugout," he said. "You've got to run in and get your stuff on and they've got the clocks, and I get into the box and I'm like, 'Geez, everything is moving so fast.' The run and the run back is the worst part there."
Odubel Herrera: It's going to take more than a probably-deserved benching to take this man down. Hey, Doobie! Just have fun out there. You're the team's best player.
Tommy Joseph: In nine games, it already feels like Joseph has had a more productive year at first base than any other Phillies player in the last four years.
Andres Blanco: You can keep sending Whitey to the plate, and he's just going to keep doubling. You'd think that'd be a phenomenon that got this career bench player a start once in a while. I guess you'd be wrong.
Adam Morgan vs. Jon Lester
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Kyle Hendricks
Moving along to Saturday, the loose parts of Eickhoff's arsenal positioned themselves correctly in his last start, leading to some long-sought effectiveness. He shut down the Braves for seven crisp, clean innings, and seems to have an attitude that suggests he knows every struggle and success alike is part of the process of development. It's like freaking out over every appearance, adjustment, and pitch isn't a worthwhile exercise for him. Go figure.
Kyle Hendricks is a version of Kyle Kendrick, but from another dimension in which he can actually pitch. He arrived on our planet through a portal deep in the Wrigley vines, and had to fight his way out over the course of three decades (this is equal to the passage of only several minutes in our world). He emerged this season, breathing heavily and sporting a glowing, pulsating wound on his arm that may or may not be the source of his powers. Joe Maddon has wisely not asked any questions about Hendricks' travels, but it is assumed that he will eventually hunt down and kill the original Kyle Kendrick to absorb his life force.
Vince Velasquez vs. John Lackey
The spark plug of the Phillies' rotation faces off against the quivering jowls and blank, dead stare of John Lackey in Sunday's finale. Lackey recently referred to the Pirates and Cardinals - currently 4.5 and 8.5 GB in the NL Central - as "kind of irrelevant." I can't imagine what that means he thinks of a third place team from another division. This may be the first time John Lackey has ever heard of the Phillies, even though he's made seven starts against them in his career, maintaining a 3.13 ERA throughout.
I guess it's time to point out that Velasquez has not made a habit of going deep since the CGSO against the Padres that got us all hot and bothered about him in the first place. Presumably, he'll come out guns blazing after getting absolutely shelled in his last start, in which he gave up three home runs in four innings. Don't worry, the internet is still full of fun, encouraging VV facts, though.
Rich Hill fastball miss rate ... down a little, but still amazing (36%)— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) May 24, 2016
Next-best among MLB: starters Vince Velasquez: 28%
Editor's Note: FanDuel is SB Nation's exclusive daily fantasy partner. New players win cash in their first league or get their entry fee refunded! Offered in partnership with FanDuel. Here's the link.