The Phillies ended their five-game losing skid on Tuesday night, and the Cubs will look to do the same on Wednesday, when the two struggling clubs meet at Citizens Bank Park.
The Cubs broke out of their offensive swoon in the series opener, scoring more runs in the second inning (four) than they had in their past three games (two). But that wasn't enough in a 9-8 loss, the fifth straight defeat for a club that is 1-8 since sweeping the Giants.
Travis Wood will start for the Cubs in the second of a three-game series, looking for his first career win against the Phillies. Wood went to his first All-Star Game last month and has 18 quality starts in 22 outings this season. But the right-hander is coming off his worst performance of the season, recording just 10 outs and allowing five earned runs against the Dodgers on Friday.
"It obviously took four months for something like that to happen," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Not too many starters will go through a whole season without having a little hiccup."
The Cubs had a winning record in July (14-13), their first since month above .500 since last July, but they are winless in August.
The Phillies, meanwhile, are 3-13 in the second half. They didn't make any moves at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and are 17 games out of first place in the National League East.
Cole Hamels is scheduled to start for the Phillies. The left-hander has been solid for the most part, but that hasn't translated into a winning record (4-13, 3.87 ERA). Hamels is winless over his past four outings despite three quality starts, but hasn't let that change his mindset.
"I need to go out and win and try to be the best pitcher I can every five days," he said.
Cubs: Murphy provides power
Donnie Murphy made his first start with the Cubs on Tuesday and hit a three-run homer in the second inning.
Murphy, promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday, got the start at third base because Sveum wanted to explore different avenues to create offense. The Dodgers held the Cubs scoreless on Saturday and Sunday.
Luis Valbuena was getting the bulk of playing time at third before he went on the disabled list Sunday. Cody Ransom played the position over the weekend, but he has two hits in his last 38 at-bats.
"We're obviously trying to find some offense in that spot right now," Sveum said. "The defense has been incredible all season from Valbuena and Ransom. Right now, obviously, Ransom has had a rough stretch since the break, and we're trying to find someone who has a hot bat."
Phillies: Brown returns from concussion
The Phillies activated Domonic Brown from the seven-day concussion disabled list on Tuesday. The outfielder hit in the cleanup spot and went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, but he made an error in left field that allowed a run to score in the ninth.
Brown homered and had three hits in a Minor League rehab game Monday with Class A Lakewood and was scheduled to play Tuesday with Double-A Reading, but the Phillies decided Brown was ready to return early.
In a corresponding roster move, the Phillies designated Laynce Nix for assignment. Nix hit .180 in 136 plate appearances this season.
Brown, 25, is having a breakout season, hitting .271 with 24 homers and 71 RBIs in 100 games, and went to his first All-Star game last month.
• The Cubs lead the NL with 358 extra-base hits.
• Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf has reached base safely in each of his past 33 games, the longest active streak in the Majors.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.