The Chicago Cubs (6-13) and Philadelphia Phillies (9-10) will open up a three-game National League series on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies return home after a 5-5 road trip

Chicago hits the road after splitting its six-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cubs’ starting staff was great in the last series versus the Cardinals, tossing 12.1 scoreless innings in winning two of three games, with each game going “under” the total.  Shortstop Starlin Castro is the player to watch offensively in this contest, hitting .415 in 13 career games versus the Phillies.  Chicago is 5-10 versus right-handed starters this year.

Cubs starting pitcher Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) picked up his first victory over the year in a 6-1 home win over the Cincinnati Reds, giving up one run and four hits over six frames.  The left-hander was handed a 10-3 defeat by the St. Louis Cardinals in his first effort on the road, surrendering six runs and six hits over four frames.  In seven career games versus the Phillies, Maholm has registered a winning 3-2 mark and 4.50 ERA, serving up just three home runs in 44 combined innings.

Philadelphia split its 10-game road trip by winning its last two games in Arizona, with the “over” cashing in the last five contests.  “The old saying is if you go .500 on the road and win at home, you’ve got a chance to win your division and get in the playoffs,” stated Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.  The Phillies will need to continue getting a lift from shortstop Jimmy Rollins at the plate with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both out with injuries, as he’s launched three home runs during his current four-game hit streak.  Philadelphia is 2-4 against left-handed starters and the “under” is 4-2 in those games.

Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50 ERA) is coming off his first loss of the 2012 campaign, dropping a 5-1 decision to the San Diego Padres, giving up two runs and five hits over seven innings.  The right-hander registered an 8-3 record and 2.48 ERA in 15 home starts a year ago, surrendering just three home runs in 112.2 frames.  In five career games versus the Cubs, Halladay is 1-4 with a 3.72 ERA, issuing two walks and striking out 23 batters.

Bettors will likely back the Phillies due to their 15-7 record following an off day, while the Cubs are 1-5 in the same situation.

Recommendation: Philadelphia Phillies -240

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