Surging Phillies look to pick on skidding Cubs again

MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies, owners of four wins in their past five games, will attempt to hand the Chicago Cubs a 12th consecutive defeat on Wednesday.

Having won the first two games of the four-game series in Chicago, the Phillies hope their recent push can sway general manager Sam Fuld to add some pieces as the July 30 trade deadline approaches.

“We’ve got to put pressure on the front office,” Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “That’s our job as players: See if we can get on a little run here and make them make tough decisions. That’s all we can do.”

Prospective buyers themselves only three weeks ago after a five-game winning streak vaulted them a season-best 11 games above .500, the Cubs have plummeted since.

A 15-10 defeat at Wrigley Field on Tuesday was Chicago’s 11th loss in a row and 17th in 21 games.

Chicago will look to avoid losing 12 straight for the first time since May 2012 as right-hander Alec Mills (3-2, 4.85 ERA) opposes the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler (6-4, 2.05).

The Cubs trailed 7-0 after two innings Tuesday and have been outscored 83-35 during the losing streak.

“We’ve got a lot going on. Eleven losses in a row,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I think there’s a lot to look at. I’ll wrap my brain around this one tonight and attack the problems in the morning.”

Philadelphia’s bats have come alive of late. After thumping the Cubs 13-3 in Monday’s series opener before winning the Tuesday slugfest, the Phillies have scored 10-plus runs in consecutive games for the first time since June 22-23, 2015.

The Phillies have blasted eight home runs in the first two games of the series, with Hoskins going deep in both contests.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for everybody to get healthy,” Hoskins said. “One guy would come back, another guy would go down. Let’s knock on wood and make sure everybody stays healthy, but I think you can just see the depth and length of the lineup. …

“We obviously know some of the struggles that we’ve had on the road. The length in the lineup gives us a little extra confidence that things are going to turn around for us. If we continue to hit and get the starting pitching that we have from the top guys, we’re going to have a chance to win a lot of ballgames.”

Javier Baez led the Cubs’ attack Tuesday, homering twice.

Mills struck out a season-best nine Friday in his most recent start, but he took the loss after allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds. Mills has faced the Phillies once in his career, a relief outing on Aug. 14, 2019. He allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.

Wheeler pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings Friday in a no-decision against the San Diego Padres, scattering four hits. He struck out nine and walked none. He is 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs.

–Field Level Media

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