The Cubs are heading into this series on a high note coming off a three game sweep in Pittsburgh, a sweep that put a major dent in the Pirates playoff hopes. It will be quite the different atmosphere in Houston as this three game set will be a battle for the first pick in the draft. Huge crowds usually don’t turn out for these types of series, couple that with the NFL season getting underway and it could be a very empty ballpark. The Cubs shouldn’t worry about that, they should worry about going out there and getting better with each game, and trying to win a job for next year. Two guys that have jobs locked up for next year, Starlin Castro, and Anthony Rizzo, are leading the Cubs charge as both are red-hot at the plate. Castro is hitting .333 in September, and Rizzo is hitting a whopping .382 during the month, unfortunately that hasn’t translated to many win as the Cubs are a less than stellar 3-6. If the Cubs want to extend their winning streak this week they are going to need the starting staff to step up as it will now be without Samardzija for the rest of 2012.
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Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.
Season Series: Chicago leads 5-4
Prediction: Cubs win series 2-1
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The Cubs are slowly becoming fun to watch thanks to the promotion of Anthony Rizzo. Finally something to watch and look forward to in an otherwise lost season for the Cubs. The Astros have the fewest road wins in all of major league baseball(9) so that bodes well for the Cubs this weekend. Nothing really jumps off the page that impresses you about the Astros, but they have been able to score some runs as they sit 9th in the NL. Where they struggle is on the mound as their team ERA is good for 14th in the NL, just ahead of the Cubs. The Cubs are going to have to take advantage of the poor Astros staff because you know the Astros hitters are going to score some runs as its projected to be in the mid 90’s all weekend, which usually means the ball with be flying all over the park. The Cubs should have some extra incentive to stick it to the Astros as they swept the Cubs earlier this season in Houston. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.