Major League Baseball

Hamels’ present, past meet when Cubs face Phillies

mlb12PHILLIES (28-20) AT CUBS (28-18)

Cole Hamels spent nearly a decade with the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he won a World Series ring in 2008.

On Wednesday, Hamels will face his former team for the first time in his career. The veteran left-hander is scheduled to take the mound when the Chicago Cubs host the Phillies in the third installment of a four-game series.

Hamels (4-0, 3.13 ERA) is showing no signs of slowing down at age 35. He has spent the past four-plus seasons with the Cubs and Texas Rangers after a terrific stint with the Phillies in which he went 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon quickly has come to admire the unflappable southpaw.

“(Hamels) is having a good time out there,” Maddon said to reporters earlier this season. “I love that part about him. He has joy playing the game of baseball. Plus, he swings the bat pretty well. Beyond that, it’s just attack, attack, attack, and if something goes awry he doesn’t change his patterns.”

The Phillies will counter with left-hander Cole Irvin (2-0, 2.77), who will make the third start of his rookie campaign. Irvin has won his first two outings by limiting the Kansas City Royals to one run in seven innings in his May 12 debut and holding the Colorado Rockies to four runs (three earned) in six innings in his second start.

The 25-year-old Irvin was the Phillies’ fifth-round pick in 2016. He pitched collegiately at Oregon.

“We’re really excited to give him this opportunity,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters when the team promoted him from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. “He’s really earned it. He’s not a dominator. He’s a guy whose game is forcing the opposition to put the ball in play and get weak contact.”

The Cubs enter the game following a 3-2 walk-off victory one night earlier. Javier Baez provided the heroics as he ripped a pinch-hit single down the right-field line to seal the comeback.

Baez missed his second straight start because of a bruised right heel, and he did not run well on his way to first base during the game-winning hit. His status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.

Kris Bryant also will look to stay hot for the Cubs. He has reached base safely in 28 of his past 30 games and is coming off a strong performance Tuesday in which he went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

For the Phillies, Jean Segura is riding a 12-game hitting streak. The surge has boosted his batting average to .318 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 38 games. He is looking for his fourth straight season with at least a .300 batting average.

Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper has not shared Segura’s success at the plate in his first season with his new team. Harper went 0-for-4 on Tuesday and is hitting .224 on the season, which is the lowest mark of his career.

Chicago is 16-7 at home. Philadelphia is 10-10 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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