Cubs-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies have a chance to get back to .500 for the first time in a little more than week but will likely need a much better effort from Kyle Kendrick on Sunday.

The right-hander will seek to bounce back from one of the worst starts in Phillies history as he faces the visiting Chicago Cubs.

After losing 5-1 in the opener of a four-game series, Philadelphia rebounded for a 5-2 victory as Carlos Ruiz drove in three runs and Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run double while batting leadoff for the first time this season. Rollins was 3 for 37 over his previous 11 games.

"It was a huge hit in the game, but he's had some bad luck," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's been hitting some balls good. It's not like he hasn't been getting good swings."

The win gives the Phillies (10-11) an opportunity to even their record for the first time since they were 7-7 on April 20. They could use an improved performance from Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA), who is filling in for the injured Cliff Lee in the team's rotation.

The right-hander was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings Monday during a 9-5 loss in Arizona. He was only the fourth Philadelphia starter since 1918 to allow at least seven earned runs and 11 or more hits in three innings or fewer.

"He didn't get ahead, he didn't command anything. He didn't create angles with anything," pitching coach Rich Dubee told the team's official website. "He elevated the whole time. It's mechanical and approach and being aggressive. I think bouncing in and out of the rotation, he just didn't come out with the right mindset."

His next start will come against a team batting .237 this season and .228 while going 2-6 on the road. The Cubs (7-14) have dropped six of their past seven contests away from home and have scored three or fewer runs in all six defeats.

They've also scored three or less in five of the last six overall contests.

Matt Garza (1-1, 3.38) might not need much support if he can duplicate his recent outings against the Phillies. The right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last three matchups, going 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA. He gave up four runs over six innings during Game 3 of the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia while with Tampa Bay.

Garza has allowed two runs or fewer in three of four starts this season but was tagged for six during his only road outing, a 9-1 loss to Miami on April 18. He gave up two runs and four hits over seven innings Monday against St. Louis but did not get a decision in a 3-2 win.

"Garza pitched a great game again, and it's another start with nothing to show for it," manager Dale Sveum told the team's website.

Kendrick had the makings of a strong outing in his only start against the Cubs on June 9 but rain interrupted that start after only three innings. He had allowed two hits and struck out two before the 77-minute delay during a 4-3 loss in 11 innings at Citizens Bank Park.

Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair, who has reached base safely in 17 straight games, has never faced the right-hander. Shortstop Starlin Castro needs two more stolen bases to tie Brian McRae's team-record 12 in April, set in 1996.

The Phillies' Ty Wigginton, riding a 13-game hit streak, is 4 for 19 with six strikeouts lifetime against Garza.