Cubs-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies are known for their vaunted pitching staff, but it's been the Chicago Cubs' starters who have shut down the Phillies' stagnant offense in two of this series' first three games.

Struggling Chris Volstad looks to continue the trend in Monday night's finale at Citizens Bank Park.

Matt Garza allowed a single to leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins on Sunday, then didn't give up another hit through seven innings of Chicago's 5-1 victory. The performance came two days after Paul Maholm outpitched Roy Halladay in another 5-1 Cubs win.

Chicago's starters entered the series 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA, but they're 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA through the first three games.

Bryan LaHair doubled twice and Joe Mather hit the first homer by a Cubs outfielder this season Sunday.

"That's a crazy fact," Mather said. "It felt pretty good."

Volstad (0-3, 6.14 ERA) hasn't had much to feel good about this year, nor has he had much recent success against Philadelphia (10-12).

The right-hander allowed four runs in six innings of a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, dropping to 0-8 with a 4.59 ERA in his last 15 starts dating back to last season with Florida.

It's been rough for Volstad since his last victory July 10, though Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he pitched well in his last start. He allowed one run through the first five innings and finished his outing without a walk.

"For the most part, it was a much more improved outing and he pitched more aggressively and used his sinker and did a good job," Sveum told the team's official website.

Volstad is 0-4 with an 8.35 ERA in his last seven starts versus the Phillies, with the Marlins losing all of those games.

He yielded 20 runs and eight homers over the last three, although injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley combined for half of those longballs.

Chicago (8-14) will look to take advantage of the Phillies' depleted lineup to win consecutive games in Philadelphia in a single season for the first time since 2001, but facing Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16) may be a difficult task.

Worley allowed four hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win at San Diego on April 19, then gave up one run in six innings to beat Arizona 8-5 on Tuesday. The right-hander allowed one run in eight innings of a 9-1 win July 20 in his only career start against the Cubs.

He'll look for some help from an offense that finished with a season-low two hits Sunday. The Phillies scored their only run when Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked Ty Wigginton with the bases loaded in the ninth.

Philadelphia has scored two runs or fewer 12 times.

"We didn't hit a ball hard," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We didn't get nothing going. I think Garza had a lot to do with it, but our hitting is inconsistent and we have to be more consistent.

"You have to hit some balls hard to win games. I feel like we're treading water. We have to play a lot better."

There are some signs that may happen Monday. Rollins is 13 for 29 (.448) with a homer and two doubles lifetime against Volstad, while Carlos Ruiz is 9 for 20 (.450) with four doubles and four walks.

What to Read Next