Phillies Vs Cubs Preview

June 9th, 2011 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, Phillies.

The Phillies (37-25, 1st place NL East) started their current home stand by taking two of three from the Dodgers. They now welcome the Chicago Cubs (24-36, 5th place NL Central) into Citizens Bank Park. The Cubs have lost eight of their last ten coming into this four game series. As usual, let’s take a peak at what to expect.

Game 1:  Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.78 ERA) vs Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74 ERA)

TV: CSN (HD), MLB Network (HD)

With the temperatures and humidity expected to be high, I also expect the score to be too. Kendrick’s ERA is not anywhere close to what to expect. As a starter this season, Kendrick is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and opponents are hitting .321 against him. Couple that with his 1.46 WHIP, the Phillies defense will have to be at the top of their game. Kendrick will be pitching to contact and hopefully the defense can keep the Cubs off the base path.

Randy Wells has been able to keep the Phillies lineup in check. He’s allowed just ten base runners in 31 plate appearances. Even more so he hasn’t allowed a run to cross the plate against the Phillies either. He hasn’t even allowed one extra base hit. With the way the Phillies lineup has been lately, you can only hope for the best.

Game 2: Roy Halladay (8-3, 2.56 ERA) vs Carlos Zambrano (5-2, 3.98 ERA)

TV: CSN (HD), MLB Network (HD)

Only Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have had more than three at bats against Roy Halladay in the Cubs lineup. Neither are hitting above .245 against Halladay while Pena does have ten RBIs to his credit. Halladay has scuffled to a 3.86 ERA over his last three starts, so hopefully we see an outing more to what we are accustomed to.

Zambrano has been able to keep the Phillies lineup in check in the past, but what may hurt him this time around may be his biggest problem: his mouth. Zambrano criticized the effort of his team after a ten inning loss to the Cardinals in his last outing. I know that it is unprofessional to tank plays because of the stupidity of a head case, but you never know. Zambrano has been dealing recently however. In his last three starts, he’s averaged seven innings and has an ERA under two.

Game 3: Cliff Lee (5-5, 3.62 ERA) vs Matt Garza (2-5, 4.07 ERA)

TV: Fox (HD)

Will the real Cliff Lee please stand up

Surprisingly, 2011 has been a tale of two Cliffs. Home Cliff and Road Cliff. While Road Cliff has struggled to keep his ERA under 5.50, Home Cliff has been phenomenal. Home Cliff has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.34 ERA. In limited at bats, Kosuke Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez are the only members of the Cubs lineup with batting averages over .300. Albeit with just one hit in three at bats. Not enough of a sample size to show concern.

Perfect day to give Howard a break.

Garza is heading into his second start since coming of the DL. In his first start, he only managed to go four innings. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Domonic Brown get the day off as both Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez are both hitting over .425 against Garza. Ross Gload may even see some action as he leads the Phillies in batting average (.455) and plate appearances against Garza. I don’t know if Charlie actually gives Howard a day off, but if he does, I expect Gload to start at first base.

Game 4: Roy Oswalt (3-4, 3.05 ERA) vs Doug Davis (0-5, 6.38 ERA)

TV: My PHL 17 (HD)

Control Freak

Roy Oswalt will be looking to bounce back from his less than stellar performance against the Dodgers. The Cubs may be the perfect team for him to do that. Outside of the catcher position (Koyie Hill and Geovany Soto) and Tyler Colvin, Oswalt has held the rest of the Cubs lineup to hitting below the Mendoza line. With all his appearances against the Cubs over the years, the current Cubs lineup has only managed three walks in 177 combined plate appearances. Oswalt may actually go deep into this game.

Here comes the boom?

To say that Doug Davis has struggled this season is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s been a tough luck loser at home, but on the road, he’s been down right awful. In his only two road starts, Davis is 0-2 with an ERA of 12.38. Davis has only lasted longer than five innings once in five starts this season. While the Cubs bullpen has a respectable 3.68 ERA, they have blown 9 of 21 saves so far this season. Both Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz have pretty good numbers against Davis. Howard has two home runs in just eight at bats against Davis.

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