The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies have split the first two games of their four-game series at Citizens Bank Park
Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago was denied its first three-game winning streak Friday night in falling 7-5 to Philadelphia, as its the only team that has not won three games in a row this season. The Cubs will be playing their ninth game (2-6) of a stretch that sees the club play 38 games in 38 days through July 10. Saturday will mark the team’s fifth appearance on FOX Saturday regional broadcasts this year, posting a 2-2 mark in such contests. Facing left-handed starters hasn’t been a bad proposition for the offense, owning a .290 batting average, which is second in the National League and third in the Majors. Chicago is still just 8-7 versus southpaws this season and 51-51 over the last three campaigns.
Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza is 2-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 10 starts this season and is coming off an 8-2 road defeat to the Reds. In that particular start, he allowed four runs and six hits over four innings, which was also his first outing since May 17. “Physically I felt fine,” Garza commented after the start. “I was a little off. That’s not what I wanted.” The right-hander has compiled a losing 1-3 mark and 5.16 ERA in five road starts, surrendering just a single home run in 29 2/3 innings. Garza has faced the Phillies just once in the regular season, tallying a win by giving up just a single run over eight strong innings as a member of the Rays on June 24, 2009.
Philadelphia had averaged 2.8 runs per game in its first eight games this month, hitting .207 with a .316 on-base percentage, but exploded for seven runs last night. The Phillies have tallied an impressive 105-75 mark against National League Central division teams since the beginning of the 2007 season. During that same five-year span, the club has gone 60-29 against that particular division at home. A concern for fans leading into the rest of the month is the club’s lack of winning during the month of June in recent years, failing to post a record above .500 since 2007. Philadelphia is 22-12 in home games this year and 127-82 over the last three years.
Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee is 5-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 13 starts this season and has alternated wins and losses over his last three outings. He tallied a 3-1 home win over the Dodgers last time out, tossing seven shutout innings, while issuing just a single walk and compiling 10 strikeouts. Lee has posted a solid 4-1 mark and 2.34 ERA in seven home starts, surrendering just three home runs in 50 frames. In four career starts versus the Cubs, he has a perfect 3-0 record and 1.71 ERA, holding the club to a .231 average.
Bettors will likely back the Phillies due to their 8-2 record in Lee’s last 10 home starts, while the Cubs are 1-4 in Garza’s last five road contests