TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Series Preview: vs Chicago Cubs

PHI: 37-25, 1st in NL East; CHI (N): 24-36, 5th in NL Central

When: June 9-12
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Thursday: Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.78) vs Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74)
Friday: Roy Halladay (8-3, 2.56) vs Carlos Zambrano (5-2, 3.98)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (5-5, 3.92) vs Matt Garza (2-5, 4.07)
Sunday: Roy Oswalt (3-4, 3.05) vs Doug Davis (0-5, 6.38)

Broadcast Info
Thursday, 7:05, CSN
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 4:05, FOX
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

Starlin Castro is the Cubs most valuable piece to the puzzle of their future. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Player to Watch – Starlin Castro: I’ve started to follow Castro casually last season. But not until I read Sports Illustrated’s article on him a month ago have I taken a rooting interest in the Cubs youngest gem (He also wears #13!!!).

Barely 21, Castro has the potential to rise as one of the best short stops in baseball. A pure hitter with very little pop, his speed, glove and pure athletic ability more than compensate for that.

He’s homered once this season and driven in 26 RBIs while batting .301. His ability to drive in runs has earned him a new home in the three-spot. And that’s where he’s taking advantage of his RBI chances, batting .296 (16-for-54) with runners in scoring position. He’s even more clutch, batting .375 (9-for-24) with two outs and RISP.

Overview: The Cubs snapped an eight-game losing streak yesterday with a 4-1 win over Cincy. That just goes to show you how miserable a season they are having so far this year. But their struggles are mainly attributed to the crappy pitching they have

While Chicago has been struggling on the hill, their offense has actually been pretty respectable. With a team .269 average, they are third in baseball. But the problem their having is leaving men on. They’re 18th in runs scored (behind the Phils) and 25th in RBIs.

Besides Castro, Chicago has Alfonso Soriano, who is leading the team with 12 homers and 29 RBIs while hitting .271. Kosuke Fukudome is leading the team with a .309 average but has driven in a mere six runs in 48 games. Marlon Byrd is hitting .308 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Aramis Ramirez only has three homers on the season as well while driving in 22 RBIs.

The Phillies can sympathize with the poor run production but they’re just not hitting on top of it. Placido Polanco (.314) is the only Phillie hitting over .300. But they’ve gotten their offense in other places. Ryan Howard is third in the NL with 48 RBIs and is leading the team with 13 hoemrs despite hitting a weak .244. But his heat up time comes in July/August.

The Phillies will likely have Jimmy Rollins back in the line up today, giving them their complete line up for the second time all season.

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