SAN FRANCISCO — Well, this ought to be pretty good theater.
The Chicago Cubs come to Philadelphia for a three-game series on Tuesday and Cole Hamels is scheduled to start Wednesday night’s game.
Against Aaron Nola.
Not a bad matchup.
Hamels, who spent 10 seasons with the Phillies and won a World Series in Citizens Bank Park, has never pitched as an opponent in the ballpark. He returned with the Cubs last season, but did not pitch in the series.
Hamels pitched against the Phillies in Wrigley Field in May. He lasted just four innings, but his team did win the game, 8-4.
Nola, who ultimately succeeded Hamels as the Phillies’ top starter, was drafted in 2014. He rose to the majors in July 2015 and he and Hamels were briefly teammates. Nola was with the Phillies for Hamels’ last start with the ballclub — an unforgettable no-hitter in Wrigley Field against the Cubs on July 25 of that year. Hamels was traded to Texas a couple of days later. He joined the Cubs in a trade last season.
Hamels, 35, is 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 19 starts for the Cubs this season. He missed the month of July with an oblique injury but has made two starts, allowing four earned runs in eight innings in a pair of Cubs’ wins, since returning from the disabled list.
Hamels will be a free agent at season’s end. Back in May, he talked about the possibility of returning to Philadelphia to finish his career (see story).
The series kicks off with Jason Vargas taking on Jose Quintana on Tuesday night. Yu Darvish and Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters for the series finale on Thursday.
The Cubs lead the NL Central.
The Phillies enter Sunday night’s game 1½ games back in the NL wild-card race. They have lost four of six games in their West Coast trip and have dropped into fourth place in the NL East, passed by the once-presumed-dead New York Mets, who have won 15 of 16.
The Phillies led the NL East by 3 ½ games on May 29. They are 27-35 since then as they prepare to send Jake Arrieta to the mound Sunday night.
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