Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chi Cubs vs Philadelphia Preview

Philadelphia (24-14) opens this two-game set after splitting a pair of games with Pittsburgh. Though Utley missed his first game of the year, the Phillies beat the Pirates 12-2 on Monday night. The following evening, though, Philadelphia appeared to miss the four-time All-Star as it lost 2-1.

It was the first defeat in five games for the Phillies, who have been replacing Utley by moving Placido Polanco(notes) from third base to second and putting Jimmy Rollins(notes) in the No. 3 spot in lineup.

Rollins went 0 for 4 on Tuesday after collecting two hits the previous day, his first game after missing 29 due to a right calf strain. Rollins is hitting .198 in 24 home games against Chicago (18-22).

Phillies starter Jamie Moyer(notes) (5-2, 4.57 ERA), who began his career with the Cubs, is 3-1 with a 4.58 ERA in seven starts against them. Moyer, set to start Wednesday, has won three straight outings, though he wasn’t sharp in his last game.

The 47-year-old left-hander surrendered five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-5 victory over Milwaukee. He gave up three home runs, increasing his career total to 501. Only Hall of Famer Robin Roberts (505) has given up more.

Three Hall of Famers follow Moyer on that list: Fergie Jenkins (484), Phil Niekro (482) and Don Sutton (472). Moyer’s .571 winning percentage is better than all of them.

“He keeps you in the game,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Doesn’t matter what the score is. It seems like when we get in a close game, he’ll keep you in a close game.”

Chicago will counter with Tom Gorzelanny(notes) (1-4, 3.60), who is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in his last two outings. The left-hander gave up a season-high five runs and nine hits in five innings of a 10-6 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.

In his only start against the Phillies, Gorzelanny yielded five runs and nine hits in five innings for Pittsburgh in an 11-8 loss Aug. 17, 2007.

The Cubs got a strong start from Carlos Silva(notes) in a 6-2 win over Colorado on Tuesday night. It was Chicago’s third straight win, and its two-game sweep of the Rockies was its fourth series victory.

Rookie shortstop Starlin Castro(notes) continues to be a bright spot for the Cubs. He drove in two runs Tuesday for his first RBIs since his May 7 major league debut, when he had six.

Castro is batting .350 in 11 games since being called up from Double-A Tennessee.

Veteran first baseman Derrek Lee(notes), meanwhile, continues to struggle, going 1 for 10 with five strikeouts over his last two games to drop his average to .229. Lee is hitting .125 (3 for 24) in his last seven games versus the Phillies.

Philadelphia went 5-1 against Chicago last season.

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