Phillies hope to end August on high note vs. Cubs

The Philadelphia Phillies have not won a series since the start of August. They’ll try to close out the month on a positive note Friday night against the Chicago Cubs.

The scuffling Phillies enter the weekend three games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. Right-hander Nick Pivetta will face Chicago lefty Jose Quintana in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

The first-place Cubs helped out the Phillies on Thursday night with a win over the Braves in a make-up game. The victory in Atlanta kicked off an 11-game, four-city road trip for Chicago (79-54), which is 18-9 in August and has won eight of its last nine games.

The Phillies (71-62), who were off Thursday, have not won any of their last seven series. They are 8-14 in their last 22 games and are also three games out of the second wild card spot in the National League.

Philadelphia was an 8-6 winner on Wednesday night over the Washington Nationals and got help from Jose Bautista and Roman Quinn.

Bautista, who was acquired through a waiver deal with the New York Mets earlier in the week, reached base four times and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with a single. Bautista, 37, is playing on his third different team of the season.

“I’ve been in this position and teams have gone in both directions,” Bautista told NBC Sports Philadelphia about being in another playoff race. “Hopefully that perspective helps. But for the most part, this is a great group of guys. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that now that I’m here, things are going to change. They’ve done a great job all year long, and they’re going to continue to do that. I hope to bring the energy every single day and continue to contribute.”

Quinn, meanwhile, has been forcing his way into the Phillies’ starting lineup in the last 10 days. The 25-year-old outfielder has started in six of the last nine games, and he’s hitting .500 with four extra-base hits, five RBIs and a 1.353 OPS in that span.

The switch-hitting Quinn will likely be in the lineup again Friday against Quintana, a southpaw.

Quintana has gone only five innings in each of his last three starts. He gave up two runs on six hits and three walks against the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday and needed 36 pitches to get through the fourth inning.

“From the sideline, there’s no finish on the fastball,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told mlb.com of Quintana. “It’s probably rest more than anything. It’s not necessarily a mechanical adjustment. He just has to be more accurate with his location of his elevated fastball.”

The 29-year-old has a 5.30 ERA and 1.420 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break. Quintana is 0-1 with a 5.94 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in three career outings against the Phillies. He had 10 strikeouts against the Phillies in just 5 2/3 innings on June 6.

Pivetta has surrendered at least five runs in both of his two previous starts. In 6 2/3 innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits, including two homers, against the Toronto Blue Jays last Saturday.

Pivetta is 1-1 against the Cubs with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts.

The Phillies and Cubs are meeting for their second and final series of the season. Chicago took two of three from Philadelphia at Wrigley Field in June.