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Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - 8:10 PM ET
 

Cubs-Diamondbacks Preview

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There are countless reasons why the Chicago Cubs are closing in on 100 losses. Their road play against the NL West is near the top of the list.

The Cubs continue their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night looking to end a 17-game road losing streak against NL West opponents.

Chicago hasn't recorded 100 losses in a season since 1966, when it finished 59-103, but the Cubs (59-98) are quickly approaching that dubious distinction. They have lost six straight overall and dropped to 0-17 against NL West teams on the road this year with an 8-3 loss Friday.

The defeat was their franchise-record 57th on the road this season (22-57).

"You wish you had the magic potion for that one but even the great teams struggle on the road," manager Dale Sveum said. "They don't struggle as bad but you know the road is going to be difficult."

Justin Upton and Cody Ransom homered and Arizona (79-78) avoided a third straight loss, although it was eliminated from playoff contention.

"Because of your pride you never go out there and give up or roll over,'' said Upton, hitting .348 over the last 12 games. ''We knew we were done but you still go out there and play the game right.''

The Diamondbacks have won four of their last five home games, scoring five or more runs four times. They've had no trouble putting up runs against the Cubs at home, winning four straight this season and five in a row going back to last year. Arizona has outscored Chicago 33-13 in those five victories.

The Diamondbacks will try to extend that streak when they hand the ball to Trevor Cahill (12-12, 3.86 ERA), who has pitched well in his last two starts at Chase Field after struggling there much of the year.

Cahill had his three-start winning streak snapped Monday with a 4-2 loss at Colorado. He gave up three runs in six innings, his fourth consecutive quality outing.

The right-hander, who was 4-7 with a 5.33 at home before winning his last two starts there, wasn't sharp at Wrigley Field on July 15. He allowed three runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss.

While Chicago's lineup isn't producing many wins, Cahill will want to pitch carefully to Starlin Castro, who had three hits Friday and is batting .354 over the last 24 games with 13 RBIs.

The Cubs will hand the ball to Justin Germano (2-9, 6.18), who looks to snap a seven-start losing streak.

Germano has a 7.86 ERA over his last seven starts and hasn't completed six innings in any of them. He gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.

"(But) I've had a pretty good year all around," said Germano, acquired from Boston in July for cash considerations. "I just had four rough starts that I had back-to-back-to-back-to back and I don't want my season to end on that."

The right-hander is making his first start against the Diamondbacks since 2008 while with San Diego. He has a 5.24 ERA in five career matchups, including four starts.

Tagged: Cubs, Diamondbacks, Justin Germano, Justin Upton, Trevor Cahill

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