The Chicago Cubs’ bats have cooled off while Philadelphia Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins couldn’t be much hotter at the plate. Hoskins will try to keep alive his impressive power surge as the Phillies aim for a second straight win over the visiting Cubs on Saturday.
Hoskins went deep for ninth time in 16 games - the fastest to that number in baseball history - since his promotion from the minors in Friday’s 7-1 win in the opener of the three-game set. Chicago has scored a total of three runs in its last two games - both losses - after it averaged 7.8 runs during a five-game winning streak. The mini-slide has the first-place Cubs holding a three-game lead in the National League Central over Milwaukee, which also lost Friday. Hoskins will take aim Saturday at Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who has allowed three home runs in 33 innings since returning from the disabled list in late July after dealing with tendinitis in his pitching hand.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, ABC 7 (Chicago), NBC 10 (Philadelphia)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.52 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Ben Lively (1-4, 3.70)
Hendricks has yet to win in six starts since coming off the DL last month despite posting a 2.45 ERA. He received a no-decision after surrendering three runs and fanning six batters in six innings against Toronto on Sunday. The 27-year-old Dartmouth product has a stellar 2.61 ERA in three career matchups with the Phillies, holding them to a .178 average.
Since winning his major-league debut June 3, Lively has gone 0-4 over a span of seven starts, although he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of them. The 25-year-old let up two runs in six innings at San Francisco on Sunday in his return to the majors after a stint at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Lively is seeing the Cubs for the first time and has a 3.18 ERA in three starts at home.
1. Cubs LF Kyle Schwarber provided all his team’s offense with a solo homer Friday and he is hitting .324 with three blasts over his last 10 games.
2. Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez is 7-for-13 with three doubles and two triples in a three-game span.
3. Hoskins has gone deep in three straight games and six of his last seven, and the rookie has 16 RBIs in that seven-game stretch.
PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Phillies 4