The Chicago Cubs’ cold snap at the plate didn’t last long. After scoring a total of three runs in back-to-back losses, the Cubs are coming off a season-high run total as they go into the rubber match of a three-game road series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Chicago, which leads the National League Central by three games over Milwaukee, broke out of its brief slump to belt 14 hits, including six home runs, in a 17-2 rout of the Phillies on Saturday. The Cubs teed off on rookie Ben Lively on Saturday, and they hope to continue the hot hitting against another rookie starter when Nick Pivetta takes the ball in the finale. Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins made history Saturday with his 10th home run in his 17th major-league game - the fastest player in big-league history to reach the mark. The Cubs look for their ninth straight victory when John Lackey is on the mound, a streak that dates to June 28.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH John Lackey (10-9, 4.90 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Nick Pivetta (4-9, 6.73)
Lackey boasted a 3.06 ERA in the second half before getting roughed up for six runs and nine hits in five innings Tuesday at Cincinnati. The 38-year-old continues to struggle with the long ball, allowing 31 homers in 24 games, but he has been able to limit the damage of late. Lackey is 5-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 10 starts against the Phillies.
Pivetta was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings Tuesday against Miami, continuing a disastrous month of August for the rookie from Canada. The 24-year-old is 0-3 with a 14.49 ERA in four starts this month, though he did rack up 11 strikeouts in a loss at San Diego on Aug. 16. Pivetta is 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA in eight home starts.
1. Chicago has hit 42 home runs in 24 games this month.
2. Hoskins is 12-for-30 with seven homers and 18 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
3. The Cubs have won 17 of their last 23 road games.
PREDICTION: Cubs 8, Phillies 5