The NL Wild Card-leading Giants have won two of the first three installments of this set and are coming off last night's 5-4 win. Pat Burrell homered and finished with three RBI, while Aaron Rowand also went deep for the Giants, who remained 2 1/2 games behind San Diego for the NL West lead.
"He plays with a lot of intensity, he's been through it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Burrell, who's batting .293 with eight homers for San Francisco. "He's had a lot of fun with this, being in the National League and being in the race."
Shortstop Edgar Renteria was placed on the disabled list for the third time this season due to a strained left biceps. Juan Uribe took over at shortstop and went 1-for-4 last night.
San Francisco, which is a game ahead of both Philadelphia and Cincinnati for the final playoff spot in the National League, got a subpar outing from veteran Barry Zito on Wednesday. Zito threw 6 1/3 innings and permitted four runs and 10 hits in the no-decision.
Matt Cain gets the nod for Bochy's club tonight and he's 9-9 with a 3.06 earned run average in 23 starts. Cain was 3-0 in four starts before losing his most recent outing on Saturday at Atlanta, as he gave up three runs in five innings of a 3-0 loss.
The big righty, who is 6-3 in 11 home starts, will make his ninth career start against the Cubs this afternoon. Cain is 5-2 over the first eight appearances, all of which have been starts.
Chicago has dropped five of six games and got homers from Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd in Wednesday's loss. Tom Gorzelanny did not record a decision and pitched six innings of four-run ball. Justin Berg was dealt the loss for surrendering Burrell's leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth.
"The guys battled, I can't fault that," Cubs acting manager Alan Trammell said. "We're somewhat shorthanded again, limited here and there. It seems that's too much of the story."
Chicago hopes starter Randy Wells can stop his personal three-game losing streak when he takes the ball Thursday. Wells was decent in Saturday's 4-3 loss versus Cincinnati, but suffered the loss for allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings.
Wells is 5-10 in 23 overall starts and 2-5 through 11 trips to the visiting mound this season. The right-hander lost his only start to San Francisco on September 27 last season in a 5-1 loss. He tossed 5 1/3 innings and was reached for five runs and 10 hits.
Chicago and San Francisco are meeting for the first time since the Cubs took four of six matchups a year ago, including three of four at AT&T Park. The Cubs have won 14 of the last 23 encounters with the Giants.