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Gotta get ‘cocky if you want to watch on Sunday
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Streaming into the second half: Phillies vs. Cubs preview

Want to watch the Phillies this weekend? Cable alone won’t cut it

I hope everyone enjoyed the All-Star Break, even though the festivities weren’t all that kind to the Phillies’ lone healthy All-Star. We got to see Kyle Schwarber get shunted aside during the home run derby in favor of Albert Pujols, and then ignored during the All-Star Game in favor of a podcast.

The Phillies begin the unofficial second half of the season currently in a playoff spot. They’ll have a good opportunity to pick up some wins against a lesser opponent. And if that has you fired up to watch them this weekend, then I hope you have access to a good streaming device and are willing to sign up for multiple services.

Chicago Cubs

Record: 35-57 (Fourth place in National League Central, 14.5 games back)

The last time they met

The Phillies hosted the Cubs for a three-game series in September 2021. This was in the middle of the Phillies’ easy schedule, and sure enough, they did win two out of three, but it wasn’t easy, since one of the wins featured two blown saves by the bullpen.

What’s the deal with the Cubs?

The Cubs are having another poor season, with the third fewest wins in the National League. They don’t hit especially well, and their pitching staff is subpar. (Did that prevent them from having more players in the All-Star Game than the Phillies? Nope!)

Who’s cold?

Willson Contreras made the All-Star team and was so excited about the honor that he’s gone into a massive slump over the past month. He’s got an OPS of .581 over that span and provides poor defense behind the plate.

There’s a good chance that Contreras’ slump won’t be the Cubs’ problem for much longer as he’s heavily rumored to be available on the trade market.

Speaking of the trade market

The Cubs are likely to be sellers over the next month, so the Phillies could get a look at potential future teammates this weekend. Ian Happ, Marcus Stroman, Mychal Givens, and David Robertson are just a few of the Cubs who might interest the Phillies.

I’m not as big on the Happ bandwagon as some others, but that’s mostly because I want to see Matt Vierling get a chance to seize the centerfield job.

David Robertson?

Yes, the one-time Phillie is healthy again, and has been an effective closer for the Cubs. I wanted Robertson to be a success with the Phillies simply due to how handsome he is, but his signing was a complete disaster for the team.

It’s also worth noting that just about every reliever the Phillies acquire at the trade deadline underperforms upon arriving. Between that unfortunate trend, and Robertson’s poor history with the team, I’d prefer they look elsewhere in pursuit of bullpen help. Or actually, I’d prefer they spend their resources going after another starter since I think that’s the team’s biggest hole right now.

So how do I watch?

Friday night’s game will exclusively be on AppleTV+. You may recognize this service as the one you got for free after buying a new iPhone, and you cancelled it once you were done with Ted Lasso. But if you want to watch the Phillies on Friday, you’re either going to have to get a new phone or pony up for a subscription. (FYI: You get a week-long free trial)

Saturday’s game will be on NBC Sports as usual, but Sunday will be another exclusive to Peacock showing that was such a big hit the last time. (At least it’s not on Father’s Day this time!)

I’m not as worked up as some about the games being shown exclusively on subscription services. I realize that it makes the product less accessible for a lot of people, but the real tragedy in that regard came when they moved almost all the games off free TV and onto cable. That said, requiring fans to have three different subscriptions to watch all three games of a weekend series is rather lousy, and is basically asking for complaints.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: Hunter Pence was the first Phillie to hit a home run at Marlins Park. roscoe12 got it first.

This series’ question: In Mike Schmidt’s four home run game against the Cubs on April 17, 1976, two other Phillies players also hit home runs. Who were they?

Non-Phillies thought

Why didn’t Peter Parker tell Aunt May and Uncle Ben about the spider bite, and the fact that he developed superpowers? I understand that teenagers are naturally secretive about things, but Peter adored his aunt and uncle. It seems strange that he wouldn’t have shared this extremely important development with them.

Closing thought

The Phillies ended the first half on a good note. Is there any chance they can pick right up where they left off? That doesn’t seem like a very Phillies-like thing to do, but I don’t fully understand what’s going on with this team, so I won’t rule it out.

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