Friday, April 27, 2012

Series Preview: Cubs at Phillies, April 27-30

The Phillies (9-10) return from a season-long ten-game road trip to begin a four-game series against the Cubs (6-13). 

While the five-time defending National League East division champion Phillies have not lived up to expectations thus far this season, the remedy could be a series against a Cubs team that has won just 1 game on the road this season.

Thus far in 2012, the Phils have struggled offensively, ranking near the bottom of the list, as a team, in nearly every offensive category.  The Cubs, who rank dead last in the Major Leagues with just 7 homeruns this season, have done just as poorly, if not worse.

In the series opener, the Phillies will send their ace Roy Halladay, who got just 1 run of support and took his first loss of the season in his last outing, to the mound.  The Cubs will counter with lefty Paul Maholm, who is considerably hot and cold when facing Philadelphia.  In his career against the Phils, Maholm has made 4 starts in which he has thrown at least 7 innings while allowing 1 or fewer runs, while he has given up at least 6 runs in his 3 other outing.

Read ahead for more details on the pitching matchups and other key stats from this series.

Friday, 7:05 PM. Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50 ERA). In 7 career starts against Philadelphia, Maholm has a 3-2 record with a 4.50 ERA and a .276 batting average against. Maholm, a former 1st round draft choice of Pittsburgh in 2003, has a career 4.91 ERA in 2 starts at Citizens Bank Park. Shane Victorino is 4-for-8 (.500 avg) with a double and a triple in his career against Maholm. Opponents are batting .178 against Halladay through 4 starts this season. In 35 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park, Halladay is 21-8 with a 2.28 ERA. Starlin Castro is 5-for-9 (.556 avg) in his career against Halladay.

Saturday, 7:05 PM. Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34 ERA). The righty Wells will be making his 2nd appearance of the season. Wells, a 38th round draft pick of the Cubs back in 2002, is 12-14 with a 4.05 ERA in 38 career road starts. Hunter Pence is 6-for-17 (.353 avg) with a double and a HR in his career against Wells. In 5 career starts against the Cubs, Blanton has no decisions and a 3.04 ERA. In his lone home start this season, Blanton earned a win while allowing just 1 earned run over 7 innings of work against the Marlins. Reed Johnson is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) with 2 doubles and a homer against Blanton.

Sunday, 1:35 PM. Matt Garza (1-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA). Garza, a right-hander, is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 3 career regular season starts against the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in regular season action against Garza. Opponents are batting .204 against Garza this season. Kendrick has thrown 4 scoreless innings against the Cubs in his career. Ian Stewart is 3-for-10 (.300 avg) with a double and a homer in his career against Kendrick.

Monday, 7:05 PM. Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16 ERA). In 7 career games against the Phillies, Samardzija is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA.  In 2 road starts this season, Samardzija is 1-1 with a 10.38 ERA.  Shane Victorino is 2-for-4 with a triple and a homerun in his career against the righty Samardzija. Worley won his only career start against the Cubs, when he allowed just 1 earned run over 8 innings last July.  Opponents are batting .242 against Worley this season. 

In 5 road games this season, Alfonso Soriano is batting .190.  In 21 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Soriano has posted a .322 batting average with 5 doubles and 5 homeruns.

Starlin Castro is batting .435 in 6 road games this season. Castro is a career .415 hitter, with 5 doubles, a triple and a HR in 13 games against the Phillies.

Lendy Castillo was the Cubs' Rule 5 draft selection out of the Phillies' organization last December.  In 5 big league outings this season, the Dominican right-hander has allowed 5 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.  Last season with Class A Lakewood, where Castillo, a converted position player, sported a fastball that ranged from 91-94 MPH regularly and posted a 4-2 record and a 2.54 ERA in 21 outings.

Juan Pierre's .339 batting average is tops on the Phillies.  In 68 career games against the Cubs, Pierre has a .255 batting average.  In 36 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Pierre is a .310 hitter.

In 38 career games against the Cubs, Jim Thome has posted a .288/.430/.576 line.

Righty reliever Michael Schwimer is back with the Phillies, after he was called up on Wednesday to fill the void left by injured reliever Mike Stutes. Schwimer, a minor league All-Star in each of the past two seasons, had posted a 1-0 record with 2 saves and a 1.04 ERA in 7 relief outings this year for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


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