Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview: vs. Chicago Cubs 4/4-4/6

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
April 4, 2014, 9 a.m.
@Philabaseball
The storyline: After dropping two of three in Texas due to bullpen struggles, the Phillies travel to Chicago to open up Wrigley Field with a three-game set against the Cubs.

Game 1 - Roberto Hernandez (0-0, 0.00 - No. 72 SP in 2013) vs. Travis Wood (0-0, 0.00 - No. 67 SP in 2013)
Game 2 - Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40 - No 2 SP in 2013) vs. Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00 - No. 58 SP in 2013)
Game 3 - A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50 - No. 15 SP in 2013) vs. Carlos Villanueva (0-2, 13.50 - No. 93 SP in 2013)

Phillies notes: 1-2, 4th place in NL East ... The Phillies left Arlington with a battered pitching staff. Entering Friday, the club ranks last in batting average against (.311) and second to last in WHIP (1.75) ... Meanwhile, the offense ranks second in OPS (.832) and third in batting average (.306) ... Jimmy Rollins missed Wednesday's series finale with the Rangers due to the birth of his second child. He'll be back in the lineup on Friday ... Chase Utley enters the series one double shy of 300 for his career ...

Injury update: Cole Hamels is expected to begin a rehab assignment  on Sunday in Clearwater. He's expected to make four starts before possibly rejoining the Phillies' rotation on April 26. The left-hander is battling bicep tendinitis ... Reliever Mike Adams started his rehab assignment on Thursday, tossing a scoreless inning with Clearwater. He notched a pair of strikeouts and surrendered one hit.

Cubs notes:  1-2, 3rd place in NL Central ... Emilio Bonifacio has collected 11 hits in his first three games as a Cub … Elias Sports Bureau reports that Bonifacio is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to collect 11 hits in his first three games with a team ... Cubs starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel combined to post a 0.95 ERA (2 ER/19.0 IP) in the season-opening three-game Pirates series, allowing one or no earned runs in each start ... Chicago plays 18 of its first 21 games this season against clubs that finished last year .500 or better - the lone series within that span against a team with less than a .500 mark last year is the Phillies.

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