Major League Baseball Handicapping: Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies Friday Night Preview

The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies continue a four-game weekend series Friday night at Citizens Bank Park

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia SP Roy Halladay is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts versus Chicago

Chicago is coming off a 4-3 extra-innings win Thursday night, marking the club’s first road victory when trailing entering the ninth inning since September 24, 2009.  The Cubs bullpen played a prominent role in making it happen, tossing 8 2/3 shutout innings, the most scoreless innings from its relievers since 2002.  “What a night for the bullpen,” said Chicago manager Mike Quade.  The team has now won two-straight games for the first time since May 18-19 in Florida and looks to win a third consecutive contest for the first time this season.  Chicago is 17-29 versus right-handed starters this season.

Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano is 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 13 starts this season and is looking for his first win since May 26 after back-to-back no-decision efforts.  He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last three starts since May 26, having left with the lead in all three contests.  The right-hander has registered a 4-1 record and 4.53 ERA in seven road starts, as his 71 career road victories ranks tied for sixth-most in franchise history.  Zambrano will be making his 10th career appearance (ninth start) versus the Phillies, bringing in a 4-3 mark and 3.60 ERA.  He has won four of his last five decisions against them.

Philadelphia has alternated wins and losses over its last four games and closer Ryan Madson failed to secure last night’s win in blowing his first save of the season.  The Phillies are now 32-1 when leading after eight innings and have failed to score more than three runs in eight of the last nine games.  Since the beginning of the 2007 season, the club has posted a 104-74 record against teams from the National League Central division.  That doesn’t mean the team will automatically bounce back tonight, as it hasn’t posted an above .500 record in the month of June since the 2007 season.  Philadelphia is 23-21 versus right-handers this year and 167-123 the last three campaigns.

Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay is 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA in 13 starts this season and the club has won his last four outings overall.  Over that span, he has allowed 11 runs and 33 hits over 29 frames.  Halladay has registered a solid 4-1 mark and 2.66 ERA in seven home starts, surrendering just a single home run in 50 2/3 innings.  In three career appearances versus the Cubs, the veteran right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA.  He allowed five earned runs in six innings of an 11-6 loss at Chicago on July 18.

Bettors will likely be interested in backing the Cubs due to their 15-6 record in Zambrano’s last 21 starts, while the Phillies are 2-8 in Game 2 of a series

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