Phillies face their former ace, Cubs' Hamels
The Philadelphia Phillies will look for their second straight win to open a three-game series against the visiting Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
It will be the second game for the Phillies since they fired hitting coach John Mallee and replaced him with former manager Charlie Manuel. The 75-year-old Manuel, who led the Phillies to the World Series title in 2008, is expected to be in the dugout Wednesday in his new role.
On Tuesday, the Phillies beat the Cubs 4-2 and had nine hits despite striking out 15 times.
The Phillies, at 61-58, have yet to hit consistently all season and still haven't posted a five-game winning streak.
Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler called the addition of Manuel "great," adding, "We always want more resources. And Charlie is a great resource. I look forward to having the opportunity to pick his brain."
The injury-riddled Phillies absorbed another blow Tuesday when outfielder Corey Dickerson was hit in the hand by a pitch and was forced to leave the game. Dickerson's availability for Wednesday was unclear.
Though the Phillies won the series opener, the firing of their hitting coach had to be a wakeup call.
"Ultimately, it falls on the shoulders of the players," first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. "We can sit here and play the what-if game, but the front office has made a decision that they think will put us in a position to make a run here."
The Phillies will hand the ball Wednesday to right-hander Aaron Nola (10-3, 3.67 ERA). On Thursday, Nola gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings in a 5-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Nola is 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.
The Cubs will send left-hander Cole Hamels to the mound to face his former team. Hamels was part of the '08 Phillies team, and he was selected the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series and the World Series that year.
Hamels is 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 19 starts this season. He strained an oblique in late June and missed more than a month. Hamels struggled in his latest start, Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds, lasting only three innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits.
But the Cubs won 12-5.
"With the guys we have off the bench now, it's a deep lineup, and that's what takes us far," Hamels told reporters.
In the seven previous starts, Hamels was sensational, producing a minuscule 1.07 ERA.
This will be Hamels' first start in Philadelphia since July 19, 2015.
The Cubs' offense was mostly stifled on Tuesday, though Nicholas Castellanos homered and had two of the team's five hits.
Still, Chicago has proven all season that it can score runs in bunches.
Before the trade deadline, the Cubs made numerous roster changes, and they retain a very dangerous lineup.
"They're bringing in everybody they can to help our team," first baseman Anthony Rizzo told reporters of the roster reconstruction. "There's a lot of new faces, which you don't normally see as much as this. Guys come in and do their best, and the guys that have been here have made everyone feel as comfortable as we can."
--Field Level MediaHome