Already without their starting catcher, the Cincinnati Reds hope their veteran second baseman isn’t too banged up.
They’re optimistic Brandon Phillips will be available for Wednesday night’s decisive series finale against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The same day leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton returned to Cincinnati’s lineup after a sore finger kept him out of Monday’s series opener, Phillips left with lightheadedness after Chicago’s Starlin Castro fell onto him while trying to make a tag at third base in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 victory.
Phillips, who went 2 for 17 in the first five games but is 7 for 13 in the last three, passed a concussion test.
"We think he might be OK by (Wednesday) to play," manager Bryan Price said.
Phillips’ problem also comes the same day catcher Devin Mesoraco missed a second straight game with an ailing left hip. Though Mesoraco had planned to undergo an MRI this week, Price said a trip to the disabled was not in the immediate future.
Anthony DeSclafani yielded two hits over seven innings and Joey Votto had two hits with an RBI as the Reds (5-3) snapped a three-game slide Tuesday.
Votto has four hits in the series and is batting .375 with nine RBIs overall.
He’s 3 for 13 with six strikeouts against scheduled starter and ex-Red Travis Wood, who has a 1.61 ERA despite going 0-2 in four starts against the Reds at Wrigley Field. The Cubs (4-3) have totaled three runs in those games and none in the last two.
Since Cincinnati dealt Wood to Chicago in December 2011, the left-hander is 2-5 but has a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts against his former club. He’s not allowed a run in 12 innings while going 1-0 in the last two.
Wood, however, looks for a more efficient effort after he gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-1 loss at Colorado on Friday.
Cincinnati counters with Jason Marquis, who won 23 games for the Cubs in 2007 and ’08 but faces them for the first time since Aug. 25, 2010.
In his first outing since undergoing elbow surgery in the summer of 2013, the 36-year-old right-hander gave up three runs and struck out seven in six innings of a 5-4 win over St. Louis on Friday.
"It was a little extra special getting out on the mound after not being out there for about 20 months," he told the Reds’ official website.
Miguel Montero is 1 for 15 to start his Cubs tenure but is batting .350 (7 for 20) with four homers and two doubles against Marquis.
After homering twice in Monday’s come-from-behind 7-6, 10-inning victory, Chicago’s Jorge Soler went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts. The rookie outfielder is 11 for 24 with four home runs while playing seven of his 31 career games against the Reds.
Wellington Castillo’s two-run homer in the eighth brought the Cubs within a run Tuesday, but their bid for a third straight comeback victory ended when they stranded runners on first and second in the ninth against Aroldis Chapman.
”If we keep giving that kind of effort, I’ll be very happy,” manager Joe Maddon said.