Philadelphia has won three consecutive games for the first time this year after being stalled at two victories five times. The Phillies won at least three straight games 14 times last year.
Much of the credit is owed to the hitters filling the Nos. 5-8 spots in the batting order, who have combined to hit .359 (41-for-114) with three homers, 21 RBIs and 22 runs scored over the Phillies' recent homestand.
But the Cubs' pitching staff might have just the right stuff to slow down those Philadelphia bats. Chicago's hurlers have a 3.22 ERA (72 earned runs in 201 innings pitched) in 22 games since April 21. Entering Tuesday, they had the third-lowest team ERA over that span.
On Wednesday, the Cubs will go with right-hander Matt Garza, who is making his second start since being sidelined with the flu. His last time out, he lasted just five innings against Milwaukee in what amounted to his shortest outing of the year.
"Having my team carry out the last [eight] innings isn't something I'm proud of," said Garza, referring to the Cubs' 13-inning loss.
Garza will be up against fellow right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who is replacing Vance Worley for this start. Worley will stay in Philadelphia for an examination on his sore right elbow. In three starts this season, Kendrick is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA.
Chicago's offense has also been clicking lately. The Cubs finished their five-game road trip to Milwaukee and St. Louis with a .276 (54-for-195) batting average, six homers and 29 runs scored (5.8 runs per game).
Cubs: LaHair streaking
Chicago first baseman Bryan LaHair has reached base safely in a team-high 32 straight games. Three other Cubs first basemen since 1945 have had streaks of 32 games (Phil Cavarretta in 1945, Bill Buckner in 1981 and Derrek Lee in 2007). Only Andre Thornton (1975) has done it in 33 contests.
The Cubs have combined to score 75 runs in their 15 wins (an even five runs per win). They've scored 59 runs in their 21 losses this season (2.8 runs per loss).
Phillies: A little something extra
The Phillies have an extra-base hit in each of their past 15 games for a total of 49 (30 doubles, four triples, 15 homers).
Thirteen of left-hander Antonio Bastardo's 15 outings this season have been scoreless, including each of his past eight.
LaHair's 10 homers this year lead all full-time Major League first basemen.
Both teams are in rare stretches of back-to-back two-game series. The Phillies won both games against the Astros, while the Cubs split with the Cardinals.