The Chicago Cubs (15-28) and Houston Astros (20-23) will continue a National League Central series on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 ET

Chicago Cubs at Houston Astros

Houston Astros SP Wandy Rodriguez was 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in three starts against the Chicago Cubs last year

Chicago has now lost eight straight games, dropping a 2-1 decision to Houston on Tuesday night, which is the longest losing streak for the club since losing eight in a row from May 30-June 7, 2011.  “We just can’t seem to get anything going,” stated Cubs manager Dale Sveum.  Coming into yesterday’s setback, the team was hitting just .228 with 19 runs scored over its previous six games, while the pitching staff compiled a 5.96 ERA over the previous 11 contests.  Chicago is 1-7 against left-handed starters this year, with the “over” going 5-3 in that situation.

Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00 ERA) was handed his first loss since April 19 last time out, dropping a 3-2 home loss to the Chicago White Sox, giving up three runs and six hits over 7.1 innings of work.  The right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in four road starts, as he’s not allowed a home run in 21.1 frames.  In 15 career relief appearances versus the Astros, Samardzija has posted a 2-1 record and 4.76 ERA, but only three of those appearances have come on the road.

Houston has managed to win five of its last seven games, as it attempts to earn its first home sweep of Chicago since August 2007.  The Astros have actually outscored opponents by eight total runs over the course of the season despite their losing record, moving into third place in the division with its recent run.  A lot of the success can be attributed to the club having the fourth-best bullpen ERA (3.00) in the NL.  Houston is 16-8 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 the last two-plus years.

Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24 ERA) has watched the club drop his last three outings, with the offense supplying him just three runs of support over that span.  The left-hander is coming off a 4-1 home loss to the Texas Rangers, allowing three runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings of work.  He will be making his seventh home start of the year, coming in with a 2-3 record and 2.52 ERA, as opponents are hitting .245 against him.  In 19 career starts versus the Cubs, Rodriguez has garnered a 5-6 record and 3.99 ERA, including an 0-2 mark and 5.09 ERA in three efforts a year ago.

Bettors will likely back the Astros due to their 7-0 run as a favorite of -110 to -150, while the Cubs are 0-4 in their last four games as an underdog.

Pick: Houston Astros -125

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