Preview: Phillies At Cubs
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[April 05, 2014]
The Philadelphia Phillies are off to
a strong start on offense after a rough 2013 campaign and look to keep
it going when they visit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Only three teams
in the majors scored less runs than the Phillies last season and they
have put up 26 in the first four games with Chase Utley taking the lead,
recording seven hits and 11 total bases. The Cubs have managed only
eight runs in four games after dropping the opener of the series 7-2 on
Slugger Ryan Howard appears to be healthier and Domonic Brown
continues to improve in the middle of the order for the Phillies to
go along with Utley and newcomer Marlon Byrd. Veteran shortstop
Jimmy Rollins leads Philadelphia with five RBIs and is expected to
return Saturday after missing the last two games to be his wife for
the birth of their child. Cubs leadoff batter Emilio Bonifacio was
0-for-3 on Friday after starting the season 11-for-16.
TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, TCN (Philadelphia), CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies LH Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40 ERA) vs. Cubs RH
Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00)
Lee struggled in the season opener — allowing eight runs, 11 hits
and striking out only one over five innings — but received 14 runs
of support to get the victory. The 35-year-old is coming off a
season in which he struck out 222 in 222 2/3 innings and walked only
32. Lee is 4-0 lifetime against the Cubs with a 1.95 ERA, although
Justin Ruggiano is 4-for-10 against him with three RBIs.
Samardzija pitched the way an ace should in his season debut against
Pittsburgh on Monday, posting seven shutout innings while allowing
five hits. The Cubs are hoping the 29-year-old former Notre Dame
wide receiver is ready to come into his own after two straight
promising, but ultimately up-and-down campaigns. Samardzija has not
had much luck against the Phillies, going 1-3 with a 10.80 ERA.
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Phillies C Carlos Ruiz has been on base 10 times in 19 plate
appearances in the first four games.
Chicago's new closer RHP Pedro Strop has allowed two hits in
three scoreless innings with one save early on.
Philadelphia's bullpen did not allow a hit in the final 3 2/3
innings of Friday's victory.
PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Cubs 1
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