Freddy Galvis and Ty Wigginton will play their first series against the Cubs as members of the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Philliedelphia)
After a miserable start to their last series against the Diamondbacks, the Phillies rebounded with two of their best offensive games of the season to earn a well-deserved day off. Now, the Phillies are home against one of the worst teams in the National League, and trying to finally break the .500 mark.
The Chicago Cubs enter the series with a 6-13 record, far below the likes of even the Phillies, who are 9-10. The Cubs deal a lineup of has-beens it seems, as Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro are really the only offensive threats.
On the mound, the Cubs have had their struggles as well, but nothing is a guarantee for the Phillies.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series.
In the opener, Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50 ERA) starts against Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) – Halladay took his first loss of the season in his last start against the Padres despite allowing only two runs in seven innings. In his career against the Cubs (five starts), Halladay is 1-4 with a 3.72 ERA.
Maholm allowed one run over six innings in picking up his first win as a Cub against the Reds on Saturday. In his career against the Phillies (seven starts), Maholm is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
In the second game, Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34 ERA) goes against Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60 ERA) – Blanton suffered the loss in his last start to the Padres allowing six runs in six innings. In his career against the Cubs (four starts), Blanton is 0-0 with a 3.04 ERA.
Wells allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision against the Reds on Sunday. In his career against the Phillies (two starts), Wells is 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA.
In the third game, Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA) faces Matt Garza (1-1, 3.38 ERA) – Kendrick was hit hard in his last start, allowing seven runs in three-plus innings. In his career against the Cubs (two games, one start), Kendrick is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
Garza allowed two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals on Monday. In his career against the Phillies (three starts), Garza is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA.
In the finale, Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16 ERA) takes the mound against Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 4.13 ERA) – Worley pitched six solid innings in picking up the win over the D'Backs on Tuesday. In his career against the Cubs (one start), Worley is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA.
Samardzija took a no-decision in his last start against the Cardinals, going 6 2/3 innings allowing no runs on four hits. In his career against the Phillies (seven games, one start), Samardzija is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA.
Prediction:April 27 – Phillies 4, Cubs 1April 28 – Phillies 6, Cubs 4April 29 – Phillies 2, Cubs 5April 30 – Phillies 5, Cubs 3
The Phillies should be able to take at least three of four from a weak Cubs team that doesn't have much going right for them. However, the danger is that the Phillies will continue their hitting woes and fall in a couple of these games.
The Phillies clearly have the advantage on paper, but the Cubs can still shock the Phillies a couple of times this series. Pitchers like Halladay and Worley should be able to cruise to wins if they get some run support and pitchers like Blanton and Kendrick will need some runs but can also rebound. I've give the nod to Blanton on lower run support because he's proven he can pitch a gem like any of the other starters on the staff. Kendrick though could rebound from a shaky first start in place of the injured Cliff Lee to make a solid start of his own.
The Phillies hit the road after this series to face a pair of division rivals, the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.