Saturday, April 05, 2014
Sports News

Preview: Phillies At Cubs

Send a link to a friend  Share

[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 Friday.

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.

[to top of second column]


  1. Phillies C Carlos Ruiz has been on base 10 times in 19 plate appearances in the first four games.

  2. Chicago's new closer RHP Pedro Strop has allowed two hits in three scoreless innings with one save early on.

  3. Philadelphia's bullpen did not allow a hit in the final 3 2/3 innings of Friday's victory.

PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Cubs 1

[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top