The suddenly slugging Chicago Cubs will look to continue their power surge against the host Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday as the teams play the third game of a four-game series.
In the Cubs’ 11-4 rout of the Reds on Tuesday, Frank Schwindel connected for a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the fifth. The Chicago designated hitter has four homers in his past four games, and the team has 19 homers in the past 11 games.
On Tuesday, Patrick Wisdom went 2-for-5 with two singles, ending his streak of homering in four consecutive games. He failed to join Sammy Sosa (1998), Ryne Sandberg (1989) and Hack Wilson (1928) as the only players in Cubs history to go deep in five straight games.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Wisdom said of his, and the team’s, hot streak. “It’s obviously better when we’re winning, and I can put us on the board with runs. It’s just way better when we win and this is going on, so I’ll take it.”
Manager David Ross moved Wisdom up from eighth to sixth on Tuesday in the powerful Chicago batting order. Wisdom has started games this month hitting third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
“I’ll hit anywhere in the lineup, I don’t care,” Wisdom said. “We have such a good lineup that guys are always on base. I love that.”
Ross said, “Obviously, when he hits the ball, it goes the long way. When you put Patrick Wisdom in the eight hole, you feel pretty good about your chances and the length of your lineup.”
The Reds are receiving an injection of power in their lineup from an unlikely source. Aristides Aquino, demoted off the major league roster on April 30, went to Triple-A Louisville to work on his game. After recording two hits, including a home run, in 41 at-bats with Cincinnati before he was sent down, Aquino returned Sunday in Toronto and had two hits and two RBIs.
The outfielder then homered twice in the Reds’ Monday loss to the Cubs and is starting to look more comfortable.
“He’s smoking the ball, I love to see it, man,” Cincinnati outfielder Tommy Pham said.
Aquino told reporters, “It’s really tough when you’re not doing good when you’re struggling. You’re always trying to do your best. I just gained my confidence back. I have the opportunity to be on the field playing every day, that’s great, and then I’m getting my confidence back and I’m feeling great.”
The Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 4.89 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday. Hendricks lost his latest start, Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, after allowing a season-high eight hits, a season-high seven runs and a career-high-tying four home runs in five innings.
Hendricks will make his 23rd career start against the Reds, and his 13th in Cincinnati, where he owns a 3-5 record with a 5.75 ERA. Overall, against the Reds, Hendricks is 7-5 with a 4.32 ERA.
The Reds will counter with right-hander Luis Castillo (0-2, 4.60 ERA), who will make his fourth start of the season.
Castillo has increased his inning total in each of his three starts since returning from a right shoulder strain that forced him to miss the first month of the season.
After going 4 2/3 innings and five innings in his first two outings, Castillo allowed just two runs and seven hits over six innings against the Blue Jays on Friday. He struck out five without issuing a walk. Castillo was the tough-luck loser in Cincinnati’s 2-1 defeat.
Lifetime against the Cubs, Castillo is 5-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 14 starts.
–Field Level Media