Last night was yet another tough-luck no decision for Rich Hill. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out 10. He looked good pretty much the whole night; the runs he gave up resulted from some hits being bunched together, and some different bounces could have easily led to him giving up one or no runs. The Cubs, however, could not get to Barry Zito, and the game went into extras. The Cubs, aided by a Rich Aurilia error, scored two in the top of the 10th and then held on for the win.

The Cubbies have a great chance to get the series sweep tonight. Big Z will be opposing Matt Cain, a pitcher with even worse luck than Rich Hill. Cain, despite his low ERA (3.78) and decent WHIP (1.316), is 5-13. The Cubs beat the crap out of him on July 18th, but his career numbers against most of the Cubs’ hitters are actually pretty good. Zambrano has handled the Giants pretty well save for Randy Winn and Ryan Klesko, but color me skeptical that those two are going to be able to beat him today. I’m predicting a Cubs sweep.

The series against the D’Backs is an important one, as the Cubs get to test themselves against a team that may very well be headed to the playoffs. The D’Backs won the series in Chicago, with their only loss to the Cubs coming in a game started by Brandon Webb on July 20th. The Cubs are lucky: they miss Webb during this trip. The matchup on Friday night is Sean Marshall versus Micah Owings. Marshall pitched well against the D’Backs earlier this year, but that’s his only experience against them. Owings struggled through four innings against the Cubs on July 21st; that’s his only appearance versus the Cubs. This is a really hard game to predict based on the pitching matchup, but I’ll try to do so anyway: I’m going Cubs.

Saturday night’s game will pit Ted Lilly against Yusmeiro Petit. Petit dominated the Cubs on July 22nd, giving up no runs in six innings of work. Lilly has only faced a few of the Diamondbacks, and he’s been so-so against them, on the whole. I’m going to have to predict a D’Backs victory.

The starters on Sunday will be Jason Marquis and ex-Brewer Doug Davis. Both starters have decent track records against the lineups they’ll probably be facing, so I’ll give Davis the home-field advantage and predict a D’Backs win.

These predictions are made with very little confidence, since none of these games present a clear mismatch. The second game appears to be the most predictable, but one has to remember that Petit’s great start against the Cubs in July is just one data point; he could totally crap out against them this time. The Cubs could easily sweep this series, and they could easily get swept; I get the feeling that these will be close games.

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