Money Line: Chicago +225 Philadelphia -250
Total Line: 7
The Chicago Cubs will make their first trip this season to Citizens Bank Park for a four-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies starting with Game 1 this Friday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network.
Chicago comes into this series fresh-off taking two of three from St. Louis this week but it is still mired in last place in the NL Central with an overall record of 6-13. The Cubs have really struggled on the road this season with just one win in six games. The total has gone ‘over’ in 10 of their first 19 games.
Friday night will be Paul Maholm’s turn in the rotation for Chicago. The left-hander posted his first win of the season last Saturday against Cincinnati by giving-up just one earned run on four hits in six full innings of work. Overall, he has an ERA of 8.36 and a 1.57 WHIP in three starts this year. Maholm is 3-2 against the Phillies with an ERA of 4.50.
Philadelphia is trying to battle back from a slow start as a result of an anemic lineup that is tied for 12th in the NL in scoring with 63 runs. It showed some signs of life with 20 runs in its last three games against Arizona that helped the Phillies take two of three from the Diamondbacks to raise their record to 9-10 on the year. They are 3-3 at home and the total has gone ‘over’ in 11 of 19 games this season.
The Phillies will send their ace, Roy Halladay to the mound to try and get the team back to .500. As expected, he is off to a rock-solid start with a 3-1 record and a sterling ERA of just 1.50. Halladay has struggled against the Cubs in the past with a 1-4 record and 3.72 ERA.
The Cubs are 2-5 in Game 1 of their last seven series and 0-4 in their last four road games against a right-handed starter. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of their last five games.
The Phillies are 23-6 in Halladay’s last 29 starts at home but just 4-11 in their last 15 home games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ in their last five games.
Chicago has lost five of the last six meetings and is 1-4 in its last five trips to Philadelphia. The total has stayed ‘under’ in the last four games.
It is hard to see Halladay struggling against the Cubs. If the Phillies’ bats stay hot, they should win with ease, but even if they do not, Philadelphia is coming away with a victory to take the early edge in this series. The Free MLB Pick: Philadelphia 4 Chicago 1