The new-look Cubs seek their fourth win in five games as they return to Wrigley Field for a short two-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The two acquisitions could make a difference as Chicago tries to make up a 4 1/2 -game deficit in the NL Central.
“In Ramirez, we obviously needed a third baseman and in Kenny Lofton we got a quality leadoff man,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.
“When you lose a guy like Corey Patterson, it’s tough to replace, but Lofton is a guy who fits the bill.”
The trade reunites Lofton with Dusty Baker, his manager in San Francisco last season.
Chicago has sought a center fielder since Patterson was lost for the season with a torn knee ligament earlier this month. They also get an effective power hitter in Ramirez, who led the Pirates with 67 RBIs, without weakening their starting lineup.
Lofton has been slumping, with four hits in 21 at-bats, but is hitting .277 and remains an excellent center fielder.
Lofton and Ramirez may not play on Wednesday when the Cubs face Philadelphia’s Randy Wolf.
Wolf has won five of his last seven decisions to improve to 10-5 with a 3.29 ERA. The left-hander has struggled against Chicago, posting a 1-4 record and a 5.36 ERA in nine career starts.
The NL wild card-leading Phillies have lost two straight after winning eight of 10.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 10 1/2 GB, NL East. Cubs - 3rd place, 4 1/2 GB, NL Central.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Wolf (10-5, 3.29 ERA). Wolf was on the losing end of a 3-1 decision against Montreal on Friday. The left-hander allowed two runs and struck out eight in six innings. Wolf has given up two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Clement (7-8, 4.40 ERA). Clement has won five of his last seven decisions but comes off a 6-0 loss to Florida in his last start. The right-hander yielded three runs and six hits in six innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .317 avg.; Jim Thome, 25 HRs, 72 RBIs and 66 runs; Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 11 SBs. Cubs - Sosa, .314 avg., 20 HRs and 57 runs; Alou, 62 RBIs; Tom Goodwin, 19 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 3-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - C Lieberthal is batting .357 (5-for-14) with two home runs against Clement. … 1B Thome is hitting .321 with two home runs since the All-Star break. … RHP Mike Williams has allowed three hits and one run in three innings for the Phillies since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Cubs - CF Tom Goodwin left in the third inning Tuesday after straining his left hamstring while running to second on a double to right-center. He is day-to-day. … OF Sosa has six hits in his last 12 at bats. … 3B Ramirez leads all NL third basemen with 23 errors.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 26-20 on the road; Cubs - 24-25 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - IF David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Cubs - RHP Mark Prior (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Patterson (knee), 60-day DL.