The Chicago Cubs (7-13) and Philadelphia Phillies (9-11) will continue a three-game National League series on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies 

The Philadelphia Phillies are 7-0-1 in their eight series against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park

Chicago opened up this series with a 5-1 win on Friday night and has now won three of its past four games.  The Cubs’ pitching staff continues to be the story, posting a 2.35 ERA over the last five games entering last night’s contest, which directly followed a stretch of compiling a 6.67 ERA in the previous seven games.  The club was 2-5 versus the Phillies in 2011, including a 1-3 mark at this ball park.  Chicago is 0-4 when the total is 8 to 8.5 this season.

Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will take the mound for the second time, as he gave up two runs and six hits over five frames in a no-decision effort that resulted in a 4-3 home loss to the Cincinnati Reds on April 22.  The right-hander has yet to record a decision in two starts against the Phillies, giving up three runs and 10 hits over 9.1 innings of work (2.89 ERA).  Wells has enjoyed pitching in April during his career, coming in with a perfect 4-0 mark and 3.12 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts).

Philadelphia came up empty in its first home game that followed a 5-5 road trip, as the team was unable to get a run across after starting the contest with two base runners.  “We had a chance in the first inning to knock a runner in,” commented Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.  “It seemed like it definitely went downhill from there.”  The Phillies are still 16-9 against the Cubs inside Citizens Bank Park, which includes a 7-0-1 series record.  Philadelphia is 26-16 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 and the “under” is 24-14 in that situation the last two-plus seasons.

Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34 ERA) has dropped his last two starts, giving up 10 runs (seven earned) and 18 hits over 11 combined innings on the road against the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.  The right-hander picked up his only victory of the year at home, tossing seven strong innings in a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins, surrendering just a single run and three hits.  In four career starts versus the Cubs, Blanton has yet to record a decision and has a 3.04 ERA.

Bettors will likely back the Cubs due to their 10-1 mark in Wells’ last 11 starts with five days of rest, while the Phillies are 0-4 versus NL Central opponents.

Recommendation: Chicago Cubs +135

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