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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, June 22nd (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (24-45) at Arizona Diamondbacks (34-35), 9:40 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 4.04) Arizona - Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44)

(Sports Network) - The Arizona Diamondbacks try to continue their recent home prowess this evening when they open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field.

Arizona enters this series having won two of three at home from the Seattle Mariners, including a 14-10 triumph in Wednesday's finale. Justin Upton homered for the first time since May 23, as the Diamondbacks won for the ninth time in 11 tries in front of their fans.

"We need him to be that guy," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Upton, who has just six home runs this season after a career-high 31 a year ago. "He's capable of being that guy. If he can turn it around, it'll certainly help where we're headed."

Arizona hit six home runs on Wednesday and scored 30 runs in the series.

Hoping for that same type of support tonight for the Diamondbacks will be lefty Joe Saunders, who is 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA. Saunders lost for the second time in three starts on Saturday in Anaheim, as he allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings.

Saunders has lost both of his starts to the Cubs, pitching to a 7.27 ERA in those outings.

Chicago, meanwhile, won the first two games of its series with the White Sox, but were denied a Windy City Series sweep on Wednesday, as it was routed, 7-0, by the Pale Hose.

David DeJesus' double in the third and Starlin Castro's triple in the sixth were the only extra-base hits for the Cubs, who have lost five of eight. Randy Wells (1-2) was tagged for three runs on five hits with four walks over 3 2/3 innings.

"It's unacceptable," Wells said of his effort. "It's time to go back to the drawing board."

Tonight, the Cubs will turn to righty Jeff Samardzija, who has lost four of his last five decisions. Samardzija lost to Boston on Saturday, as he was tagged for three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 frames, dropping him to 5-5 to go along with a 4.04 ERA.

This will be Samardzija's first start versus the D'Backs.

Chicago took four of seven from Arizona last season.

06/22 10:29:04 ET