The Chicago Cubs' Jake Arrieta and Philadelphia Phillies' Kyle Kendrick are hardly imposing pitchers.
Don't tell that to two of the hottest hitters in this weekend series - the Phillies' Michael Young and the Cubs' Starlin Castro.
Young has never gotten a hit off Arrieta and Castro has come up empty against Kendrick heading into Sunday's matchup at Wrigley Field.
These teams have traded one-run victories in a series highlighted by interim Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg's return to Wrigley.
Young is 7 for 10 with three RBIs through two games while Castro is 4 for 9 with three doubles, three RBIs and his first homer since July 31 in Saturday's 4-3 win.
It's possible - and probably surprising given who they are - that Sandberg and Cubs manager Dale Sveum are using the perfect starters to slow those hitters down.
Young, 10 for 17 against Chicago (57-78) this year, is 0 for 10 against Arrieta (1-1, 4.50 ERA), and the only pitcher he has fared worse against in his career is the now-retired Esteban Yan (0 for 14).
Castro is 0 for 9 against Kendrick (10-11, 4.40) to match his mark against Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani for his worst against any pitcher.
Sunday's right-handed starters have been plagued by poor run support.
Kendrick is 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA over his last seven outings, and his offense has produced 11 total runs of support in that span. Eight came in his lone win since the All-Star break - a six-inning stint against the Cubs in which he gave up five runs for a 9-8 victory Aug. 6.
The Phillies were shut out for the third time in Kendrick's last four outings Tuesday against the Mets as he gave up five runs - one earned - over six innings in a 5-0 loss.
Kendrick is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, limiting them to a .208 average.
Chicago has scored one run or zero in three of Arrieta's four starts since he was acquired from Baltimore on July 2.
The Cubs gave him no support Tuesday, as Arrieta was charged with four runs over five-plus innings in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.
Arrieta's lone career start against Philadelphia (62-74) came June 8, 2012, with Baltimore. He surrendered nine runs over four innings in a 9-6 loss.
Both clubs' bullpens have been busy this weekend with 13 1-3 innings. Each team's starter allowed three runs in five innings Saturday before five Cubs relievers finished with four scoreless innings.
Chicago improved to 4-16 at home since the All-Star break.
"They haven't come around too often lately so it was nice to get the lead and all the relievers did a great job, made the plays when they had to and did a nice job to get a win at home," Sveum said.
Phillies third baseman Cody Asche has missed three straight games with a right hamstring strain, but should return to the lineup Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
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