(SportsNetwork.com) - Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett has never lost a regular season game at Wrigley Field. Sunday, the 37-year-old hopes to help the Philadelphia Phillies complete a three-game sweep against the Chicago Cubs.
Burnett is 7-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 11 lifetime games against the Cubs. That includes a 5-0 ledger in seven contests at Wrigley Field.
He's off to a good start already in 2014 after signing a 1-year, $16 million deal in the offseason with the Phillies. Burnett left with a lead after six innings at Texas on Tuesday, but Philadelphia's bullpen couldn't hold the edge and lost to the Rangers, 3-2. Burnett struck out three, walked two and gave up one run and seven hits.
Carlos Villanueva has already pitched in two games for the Cubs this season, both in relief in extra innings. The 30-year-old righty gave up Neil Walker's winning home run on opening day in the 10th inning at Pittsburgh, and two nights later suffered the loss in inning No. 16 at PNC Park after giving up three hits and a run in 1 1/3 frames.
Villanueva is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 14 career games (1 start) against the Phillies. That only start against Philadelphia came July 2, 2011, with Toronto when he yielded three runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Phillies won the game, 5-3.
Philadelphia moved closer to their three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 2009 on Saturday, as Cliff Lee tossed seven scoreless innings, Chase Utley finished a triple shy of the cycle and the Phillies earned a 2-0 win.
Lee (2-0) gave up 10 hits, but only one went for an extra base. The veteran left-hander, who struck out six without issuing a walk, bounced back from an Opening Day start in which he was victimized for eight runs over five innings of the Phillies' 14-10 win over Texas.
Utley was 3-for-3 with a walk and knocked in a run as the Phillies secured the series after Friday's 7-2 triumph in the opener.
Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (0-1) pitched well in defeat, allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in seven full frames.
However, the Cubs' bats remained silent. The team has yet to score more than three runs in a game this season.
Despite the low run totals, Samardzija says the team is battling hard.
"These guys come to work every day and are doing everything they can," he said.
Chicago had two men on aboard in four innings during Lee's outing, but was 0- for-7 with runners in scoring position.
"I just had to make pitches in situations where they were one swing away from tying it up or taking a lead," Lee said.
These teams split six meetings last season.