While Cincinnati's Mike Leake is the caliber of pitcher the Chicago Cubs could acquire prior to next week's trade deadline, they might feel the recent call up of Kyle Schwarber is enough to give their middling offense a lift.
After the rookie catcher's bat helped the visiting Cubs even this series, they face Leake to open a split doubleheader against the Reds on Wednesday.
With Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman getting the night off, Schwarber belted a two-run tying homer off J.J. Hoover in the ninth, then hit a solo shot in the 13th of Tuesday's 5-4 victory. Schwarber, who grew up some 40 minutes from Cincinnati in Middletown, Ohio, is batting .410 (16 for 39) with three homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.183 OPS through his first 11 games.
''Now that it's here, it's just an awesome feeling to get to play in a ballpark in the major leagues,'' said Schwarber, who was recalled for his second stint Friday in the wake of Miguel Montero's thumb injury. ''Now I have to do my job and earn my way on this team.''
Though the Cubs (50-42) might benefit from a veteran bat to help boost an offense that ranks near the bottom of the majors in batting (.239) and hitting with runners in scoring position (.228), they seem more content to rely on Schwarber, fellow rookie Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to help remain a serious postseason contender.
Chicago has been linked to big-name pitching trade targets Cole Hamels and David Price, but Leake (7-5, 3.95 ERA) or someone as serviceable seems more realistic. The right-hander, who allowed his only run over 14 innings in winning his last two starts during Friday's 6-1 victory over Cleveland, expects to be dealt.
''It is more likely that I'll be traded than stay,'' he said. ''It (stinks) that we've had the season we did but if I am traded, I'm eager to pitch for a winner.
"I don't think about being traded when I'm on the mound.''
He's posted a 4.74 ERA without a decision in three starts against the Cubs this season.
Chris Coghlan, who also homered Tuesday, is 9 for 13 with three doubles and two home runs against Leake. Rizzo is batting .370 (10 for 27) with two homers and two doubles against him and Bryant 3 for 5 with a double.
Chicago counters with Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.44), who has allowed one earned run while going 2-0 in his last four starts. That run came over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Atlanta on Friday.
Opposing Leake on June 13, the right-hander gave up a solo homer to Joey Votto in five innings while not factoring in the decision of Chicago's 4-3 win.
The Cubs called up Dallas Beeler (0-0, 3.60) from Triple-A Iowa to start the nightcap for his fourth career start in two seasons. In his lone 2015 appearance, Beeler gave up two runs in five-plus innings of a 5-3 win over St. Louis on July 7.
The right-hander yielded four runs, six hits and walked four in five innings of a 4-1 loss to Cincinnati (41-50) in 2014.
He'll square off against Tony Cingrani (0-3, 3.47), who will be activated from the disabled list he landed on June 15 with a strained shoulder. All 24 of the left-hander's appearances this year have come in relief.
The south suburban Chicago native went 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA in six starts against Chicago in 2013 and '14.
Votto is 8 for 16 in the last four games.