1. When and where
A dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory in which the Phillies erased an early 5-0 deficit gave Ryne Sandberg a win in his return to his former stomping ground of Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon. The Phillies go for two in a row this afternoon at 4:05 p.m. on CSN.
2. How about a streak?
Last time out, Cliff Lee won his first game in nearly two months. In eight innings, he limited the Mets to one run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven. Of 121 pitchers, 84 were strikes.
Lee (11-6, 3.07) should have a great chance to get his 12th win. He has excellent career numbers against the Cubs. In six games, he's 4-0 with a career 1.77 ERA. And current Cubbies are batting just .138 against him -- only Darnell McDonald, at 3 for 8, has good numbers off Lee. Don't be surprised to see Dioner Navarro (1 for 16) sit, and maybe Donnie Murphy (1 for 15) too.
On a random aside, Lee -- in the midst of yet another excellent season -- hasn't thrown a complete game in quite a while. The AL leader in the category (7) in 2010 and the NL leader in shutouts (6) in 2011 has gone the distance just twice in his last 57 games. In 125 outings from 2008-11, the left-hander finished 23 contests.
3. First look at Rusin
The Phillies have never faced Cubs starter Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64), a soft-tossing left-hander who could give them problems based on their history of struggles against pitchers like that.
Rusin primarily throws three pitches: a fastball that hovers around 88 mph, a mid-80s cutter and a high-70s changeup. He also mixes in a curveball and slider occasionally.
The 26-year-old is not a strikeout guy -- he punches batters out at just a 5.3 rate per nine -- but he induces ground balls at a 47 percent rate. Still, he's lost all three of his starts at Wrigley this year and carries a 4.32 ERA there, drastically worse than his 1.63 ERA on the road.
4. Chase heating up
Chase Utley followed back-to-back two-hit performances by stroking a big triple off Jeff Samardzija to plate two runs in the win Friday.
The second baseman was slumping for two weeks prior to Wednesday and went just 5 for 41 (.122) over 13 games. But in his last three games, he's 5 for 13 with a double and a triple.
Utley has good career numbers at Wrigley, including a .333 average, but he's homered surprisingly just once in 18 games there.
5. It's been a while
The Phillies haven't won a road series since taking two of three from the Pirates at PNC Park from July 2-4.
One of the worst road teams in the league (27-42), the Phillies are just 4-15 in their last 19 contests away from home. The last time they won on the road on back-to-back days was June 25-26 in San Diego.