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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 29th (All times eastern)

San Diego Padres (9-15) at Chicago Cubs (9-15), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.94) Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.03)

(Sports Network) - They have identical records and sit last in their respective divisions. Something has to give when the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres open a four-game series Monday at Wrigley Field.

The Padres actually enter this series on high note with a season-high four straight wins and completed a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants with Sunday's 6-4 win.

Chase Headley posted three hits, including a home run, and both Alexi Amarista and Nick Hundley added two-run homers. Amarista scored three times for the Padres and Jason Marquis earned the win with 6 2/3 decent innings. The right- hander gave up two runs and six hits with three K's and four walks.

"I felt like the ball came out the way I wanted," Marquis said of his outing. "A few situations I had to make some pitches and my defense did a good job of helping me out and turning some double plays."

Huston Street was the third relief pitcher used and the closer hurled a scoreless ninth for his fifth save. The Padres are last in the NL West.

Getting the pitching nod for the Friars in the Windy City Monday is Clayton Richard. Richard is winless (0-2) on the season in four starts to go along with a 7.94 earned run average. He had a miserable outing last Tuesday in a 6-3 defeat to Milwaukee and lasted only 1 2/3 innings, giving up six runs and six hits.

Richard, a lefty, was coming off six shutout innings for a no-decision versus Colorado April 14. He has won both of his career meetings with the Cubs and owns a 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 innings pitched against them.

Meanwhile, Chicago is back home for 10 games and went 4-6 on a recent road trip, which culminated with Sunday's 6-4 loss at Miami.

The Cubs, last in the NL Central, were aiming for a four-game sweep of the Marlins, who scored the last four runs of the game to salvage the series. Carlos Villanueva was saddled with the loss and Miami reached him for four runs in six innings. He did strike out eight batters and issued three walks.

"I thought we played a good series here," Villanueva said. "Obviously we wanted to go home with a sweep, but we still feel like we're starting to play better and hopefully we can keep it going."

Dioner Navarro homered, Starlin Castro knocked in two runs and Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Villanueva talked about the upcoming homestand and how it could turn things around playing at Wrigley Field.

"It's always (good)," Villanueva told the club's website. "Some home cooking always helps. We'll be back there. We have San Diego coming, and I think we'll be ready to do business against them."

Chicago and San Diego split six matchups a season ago and both teams posted three-game sweeps as the host. The Cubs and Padres also split six meetings in 2011.

04/29 10:35:39 ET