The Phillies may be just 2-2, but there are a lot of positives to take from those first four games of the season -- perhaps most notably the starting rotation, excluding Cliff Lee.
On opening day, Lee surrendered eight runs and 11 hits in five innings against the Rangers but still claimed a win in possibly his worst start ever with the Phillies. Saturday afternoon, Lee gets a chance to recover against the Cubs (1-3) at Wrigley Field.
Here are five things you need to know before first pitch at 2:20 p.m. on The Comcast Network:
1. Get me out of Texas
Everything's bigger in Texas, and Lee's ERA is no exception. Including his opening day clunker, Lee is 7-5 with a 5.55 ERA in Arlington. Throw Houston into the mix, and his ERA jumps to 5.92.
The Phillies gave Lee an early 6-0 lead to work with on Monday, but for whatever reason, the left-hander seems to struggle in such situations. In his career, Lee's ERA is a full run higher when his team gives him six or more runs of support (4.11) than when he gets 3-5 runs (3.11).
Lee should be much more comfortable at Wrigley, where he owns a 2.77 ERA in four starts and 23 strikeouts to nine walks in 26 innings. Lifetime against the Cubs, Lee is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 50.2 innings.
There are a few Cubs, however, who have hit Lee well, including former Marlin Justin Ruggiano, who's 4 for 10 with three doubles and a walk against him. Overall, current Cubs are batting .296 against him.
2. Lefties hitting lefties
How about the start Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are off to? In the early going, the duo is a combined 12 for 35 (.343) with two doubles, two homers and seven RBIs.
The most promising part is that a large portion of that production has come against left-handed pitching. Utley, who hit his first homer off southpaw Travis Wood in Friday's 7-2 win, is 4 for 12 with just one strikeout against lefties this season.
Howard, who has twice batted in the fifth spot against southpaws, broke an 0-for-9 skid against Wood and is 3 for 13 with a double and a homer against lefties. The Phillies are going to need decent production like that against left-handed pitching, especially from Howard, who's batted just .173 vs. LHP the past two seasons.
3. Scouting Jeff Samardzija
Unlike Lee, Samardzija had an impressive opening day performance in which he held Pittsburgh scoreless over seven innings. Unlike Lee, he got a no-decision.
Samardzija, who finished fourth in the National League with 214 strikeouts last year, punched out only three Pirates on opening day -- which would have equaled a low for last season.
The right-hander, who throws a mid-90s fastball and cutter, a mid-80s splitter and a low-80s slider, is aiming for fewer strikeouts this year in order to be more efficient. He lasted seven innings or more in just 13 of 33 starts in 2013.
Against the Phils, the 29-year-old is 1-3 with a 10.80 ERA in nine games (three starts).
4. Struggling Cubs
The Cubs don't score a lot of runs. Last year, they finished second-to-last in the NL averaging 3.72 runs per game. (The Phillies, just ahead of them, averaged 3.77.) They especially don't score a lot of runs when Anthony Rizzo isn't scoring them or knocking them in.
Rizzo, who led the Cubs a season ago in homers (23), RBIs (80), walks (76) and runs (71), is off to a slumping start with just two hits in his first 17 at-bats. The 24-year-old went 0 for 4 in Friday's loss.
Starlin Castro, a career .281 hitter and two-time All-Star who typically occupies the two-hole, is also 2 for 17 to start the season. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs have plated only eight runs through their first four games (plus eight frames of extra-inning ball).
5. This and that
• Utley is 4 for 13 with three doubles, a triple and four RBIs lifetime vs. Samardzija. Utley is also batting .400 with 20 RBIs in his last 18 games against the Cubs.
• After going 11 for 16 at the plate in his first three games, Emilio Bonifacio went 0 for 3 with a strikeout on Friday.
• Jimmy Rollins, who is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after the birth of his second child, has hit seven homers at Wrigley Field -- the third-most he's hit at any visiting stadium after Turner Field (10) and Sun Life Stadium (10).
• Reliever Brad Lincoln and backup catcher Wil Nieves are the only players on the active roster who have yet to appear in a game this season.
• Since 2011, the Phillies are 6-3 at Wrigley Field.