PHILADELPHIA -- Kyle Hendricks has gained the trust of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
Ryan Howard, meanwhile, must regain the trust of Philadelphia Phillies boss Pete Mackanin.
Hendricks, a 26-year-old right-hander, will seek to run his personal winning streak to three games when he takes the mound Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park against right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (2-8, 3.93).
Hendricks (4-4, 2.84) went the distance against the Phillies two starts ago, the second complete game of his three-year career, allowing one run and five hits in a 4-1 victory. His last time out he worked eight innings to beat the Dodgers, allowing two runs and three hits while striking out six and walking one.
"He is really learning his craft," Maddon told reporters after the latter victory. "Of course he can get better. There are other things he will be able to learn how to do as he gains experience. Just the way he pitched right now, with the weapons he has, hitters don't like that."
The victory over the Dodgers marked the first time Hendricks went at least eight innings in back-to-back games in his career.
"We take pride in going out there every fifth day," he told reporters. "Lately, I have been able to make it simple and focus on making good pitches."
The 36-year-old Howard, hitting just .150 this season, has just four hitless at-bats this month while Mackanin and Co. take a look at rookie first baseman Tommy Joseph. Joseph has shown promise, hitting .311 with five homers and eight RBIs in 19 games to date, but Mackanin said before Monday's 6-4 loss to the Cubs that he plans to start Howard on Tuesday.
"I'm just going to get a look at him, see how he looks," Mackanin said, "and I'll probably make a decision on how I'm going to handle the whole thing in the near future."
It is obviously a situation that requires some finesse. Howard, in his 13th season, is a former MVP and three-time All-Star. With catcher Carlos Ruiz, he is a link to the club's glory days.
To date Howard has said and done all the right things. Mackanin is trying to do the same.
"The whole thing is delicate, and a lot of it concerns me," he said. "I'm sure he's not happy about the position he's in. I'm not happy about it. We've got to do something at some point, see what happens. It's not a lot of fun."
He has gone so far as to seek the advice of a former major league manager on how to handle the situation.
"He said basically the best way to handle it is to tell the player you've got to hit better," Mackanin said. "If it comes to that point, that's basically what I'm going to tell (Howard)."