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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Wednesday, August 8th (All times eastern)

Chicago Cubs (43-65) at San Diego Padres (48-64), 6:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37) San Diego - Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01)

(Sports Network) - Clayton Richard will try to pitch the San Diego Padres to a three-game sweep of the stumbling Chicago Cubs this evening in the finale of a six-game homestand at Petco Park.

Richard was 1-3 in five starts before shutting down the New York Mets in a 3-1 victory on Friday, as he delivered seven innings of one-run ball, struck out two and issued a pair of walks. Richard pushed his record to 8-11 in 23 starts and lowered his earned run average to 4.01.

The left-hander improved to 5-4 in 10 home starts and will face the Cubs for only the second time in his career. In a 5-1 win at Wrigley Field back on Aug. 18, 2010, Richard held the Cubs to one run in 6 2/3 innings for the win.

San Diego hopes Richard can keep the momentum going after last night's 7-4 victory in the middle portion of this series, as Ross Ohlendorf gave up two runs, one of which was earned, and three hits in six innings for the win. Five relievers combined to allow two runs the rest of the way and closer Huston Street posted his 20th save with a scoreless ninth.

Street last allowed a run on June 17 at Oakland and is riding a 20 1/3 scoreless-innings streak over his previous 21 appearances. He is a perfect 20- for-20 in save situations this year.

Carlos Quentin hit a three-run homer, Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera both had a pair of RBI and Logan Forsythe finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Padres, who have won four of five games on this homestand. The Padres improved to 42-0 when leading after eight innings and have won nine of their last 11 games at Petco Park.

"He's a proven offensive player when he's in there," Padres manager Bud Black said of Quentin. "He's a weapon, an offensive weapon, like a lot of good players."

San Diego will open a seven-game road trip against Pittsburgh (3 games) and Atlanta (4 games) later this week.

The Cubs are mired in a seven-game slide, their longest since dropping 12 in a row from May 15-27 this season, and will close out a six-game road trip tonight.

Chicago fell to 16-41 away from Wrigley Field with Tuesday's loss, as starting pitcher Brooks Raley was hammered in his major league debut. With Matt Garza banged up, Raley got the nod was treated rudely by the Padres, allowing seven runs and eight hits over four innings. He fanned four and walked three.

"I was definitely nervous," said Raley. "Obviously it was a good experience and a good one to get out of the way. I learned a lot out there."

Josh Vitters drove in two runs and Luis Valbuena added two hits and a run scored for the Cubs, who are 0-5 on their six-game trek. Vitters had his first major league hit and RBI with a pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh.

Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano was scratched from Tuesday's lineup due to soreness and swelling at the base of his right index finger. He is listed as day-to-day.

"I don't feel comfortable holding the bat," Soriano said.

Soriano is one home run shy of having at least 20 for the 11th year in a row, which would allow him to join Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more homers in each of their first six seasons as a Cub. The lanky slugger has gone deep 19 times since mid-May and needs nine RBI for 1,000 in his career.

The Cubs will head back to the Windy City after tonight's game for a seven- game residency versus Cincinnati (4 games) and Houston (3 games). They are 8-13 in 21 games against the NL West this season.

Taking the mound for Chicago in tonight's finale will be Jeff Samardzija. The big right-hander is just 2-6 in his past eight decisions and last toed the rubber in a 6-1 loss at Los Angeles on Friday, when he was reached for five runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Samardzija fell to 7-9 in 21 starts and his earned run average went up to 4.37, spanning 125 2/3 innings pitched. He defeated the Padres back in late May at Wrigley Field, striking out eight and allowing three runs in seven innings of a 5-3 win, and is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three career games (1 start) against them.

Chicago swept a three-game home series versus San Diego from May 28-30 and has won four of the last seven meetings between the teams.

08/08 10:46:09 ET