Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (18-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (24-14)


After a series split with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and perhaps one of the most baffling losses of the season, the Chicago Cubs will visit Philadelphia for a quick two game series before the start of Interleague Play. Missing Chase Utley? He is expected to be a game time decision after seeing the doctor Monday and sitting for the entire Pittsburgh series. Last year the Phillies won the season series overwhelmingly 5-1, with the sole loss at home.

GAME ONE: Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 3.60) at Jamie Moyer (5-2, 4.57)

Gorzelanny is still searching for his first win on the road. While he has pitched well in his three starts in 2010, he garners very little run support; getting about 3.6 runs per game. He is also coming off of his worst start of the season, giving up five runs in five innings against Pittsburgh while striking out seven. In one career start against the Phillies he received the loss. The current lineup is batting .316 against Gorzelanny; with both Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth batting .667 against him each with two hits in three plate appearances. And for Moyer, who is getting ample run support, averaging about 6.9 runs per game, will look for his sixth win of the season against the team he made his debut with in 1986. Moyer went six and a third innings in his last outing against Milwaukee, where he earned the win while allowing four earned runs. In each game he has started, he has pitched well enough to at least keep the Phillies in the game. The current Cubbies are batting .258 against Moyer and are 33 for 128. Alfonso Soriano has Moyer’s number – big time. Moyer has allowed 12 hits, four home runs, and nine runs batted in. Again, Moyer should look to avoid the big inning that crept back in his last start against Milwaukee.

GAME TWO: Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.49) at Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.49)

This month, Dempster is 0-3 with a 4.71 ERA. Despite earning the loss in his last outing against Pittsburgh, where he threw over 30 pitches in the first, he allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings, his starts this month have been quality ones. He will look for his first win in May against a team batting .302 against him with 32 hits in 102 at bats. Both Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have four RBIs against him. They’re also a very patient team against Dempster; with 16 walks (Rollins has six, Howard three). Lifetime Dempster is 4-4 with a 4.91ERA against the Phillies. Blanton, who just earned his first victory in the Milwaukee series, has pitched better than his high ERA suggests. He too has kept the Phillies within reach of the win in his three starts this season, although they all were not quality starts. The few Cubs that have faced Blanton are batting .227 against him, 10-44. They have a mere three runs batted in, three walks, and nine strike outs. If Blanton can keep them within reaching distance, and the offense attacks Dempster early he should leave here still looking for his first win in May.

Former Phillies Returning: Marlon Byrd (2002-2004)

If you’re heading down to the Bank, enjoy the series. Weather should be decent tonight and rain is expected to be held off for game time. The Flyers are out of town until Monday, so enjoy less traffic tonight.

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