After a victorious series against the Dodgers in which Cliff Lee regained some confidence with a 10-strikeout performance and Cole Hamels shut down Los Angeles for his eighth win of the year, Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies begin a four-game series with the Cubs tonight. Before Wednesday's MLB action, Chicago had lost eight games in a row, so the NL Central competitors are looking to stay in the right direction as the Phils host this evening's 7:05 p.m. ET matchup.
Starting in place of Joe Blanton, who remains on the disabled list with an injury, Kendrick (3-4) will face the Cubs for the first time in his career, kicking off a series that's expected to be tough for Chicago--primarily because of the fact that each of the Phillies' pitching aces are set to take the mound in the coming days at Citizens Bank Park. His appearance also marks the first time this season that Kendrick has gone back to back in terms of starts; the 26-year-old right-hander threw for the Phils in a losing effort vs. the Pirates last weekend.
Something worth noting is that the Phillies haven't posted a record above .500 in June since 2007, the year before they won the World Series, but the team is coming off a promising performance against the Dodgers. The offense could also be in for a boost, as shortstop Jimmy Rollins is said to have a chance of playing tonight, despite missing the last four games with a bone bruise on his right knee.
Up against the Phils in tonight's series opener is veteran Randy Wells, who missed a good chunk of this season with a right forearm strain and has struggled with consistency since returning to Chicago's rotation. On the year, he is 1-1 with an ERA of 5.74.